LOOKING BACK 2013: Part three

The Peninsula News Review examines the top stories of 2013

Stories by Devon MacKenzie

• Community loses Jeanette Hughes

The community lost a pillar in April of 2013 when Jeanette Hughes, 74, died after spending two weeks in the Palliative Care Unit at Saanich Peninsula Hospital.

Hughes’ community involvement ranged from spending nine years as a councillor with the Town of Sidney to devoting much of her time volunteering with various organizations including those related to Multiple Sclerosis, which she suffered from.

One of the projects she was most proud of was the founding of the annual Christmas dinner at the Mary Winspear Centre.

Hughes’ involvement with the Town of Sidney didn’t only include time serving as a councillor but also time serving on many committees and boards and she was remembered for her extensive work on accessibility for disabled people in the Town of Sidney.

A funeral was held for Hughes on April 20 at the Mary Winspear Center and was attended by hundreds of residents whose lives she touched in one way or another.

• Aquarium, chamber lose their leaders

Two major organizations on the Saanich Peninsula lost their executive directors in 2013.

Angus Matthews announced his exit from the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre in November after seven years at the helm.

Matthews had been involved with the Centre since before it was even a concrete idea in 2005 and in January of 2006 he was appointed executive director.

Since then SODC has become one of the Saanich Peninsula’s main attractions and has seen successes far beyond what he had imagined.

Matthews had no plans to move to another job after the SODC but said he was looking forward to the future and what it would bring.

SODC was accepting applications for the executive director position until mid-November. An announcement on the successful candidate is expected in the first months of the new year.

Over at the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, Chris Fudge left his post as executive director mid-November with just under a year’s time under his belt.

Fudge joined the Chamber in January of 2012 after serving as the Senior Manager of Member and Visitor Services for Tourism Whistler.

Fudge moved on to a position with B.C. Transit working with their regional transit team — a group that works collaboratively with municipalities in B.C. and their transit programs.

As of Nov. 25, the day to day management of the Chamber office operations continued under Linda Duivenvoorden, the Chamber’s Office Administrator. The chamber still has not publicly posted to fill the executive director position.

Peninsula facing a doctor shortage

In the fall of 2013, Dr. Ambrose Marsh, Chief of Staff at Saanich Peninsula Hospital, and Karen Morgan, the Executive Director for the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation made a presentation to the three councils during a tri-municipal meeting regarding the dwindling numbers of doctors in the area.

With approximately 50 per cent of family doctors on the Saanich Peninsula slated to retire in the next seven years, the two forces are teaming up to try and bring in more.

One of Marsh’s main concerns with the dwindling number of doctors on the Peninsula lies in the number of doctors available at Saanich Peninsula Hospital.

According to Marsh, the challenges don’t just lie in not having enough doctors immediately, but also in recruiting family doctors for the future.

Morgan and Marsh estimate the hospital will need five doctors in the immediate future to be able to operate at the optimum level.

To that end, the hospital and the hospital foundation reached out to local government to open a discussion on how to better recruit and retain medical professionals on the Saanich Peninsula.

Some of Marsh’s ideas for recruitment include new clinic models (several doctors working in one clinic rather than single practices), tax breaks, real estate funds and benefits, but he also made it clear that it isn’t only about throwing money at potential doctors.

All three municipalities got on board with Marsh and Morgan in November and December and agreed to help the cause.

More on the story will develop in 2014 as plans are made and implemented to find more doctors.