The Snow Lake Chamber of Commerce held an informal “come and go” welcome for Dr. Michael Haldorson on the afternoon of Sunday, Oct. 28. A “healthy” contingent of Snow Lake’s citizenry came out to the local seniors’ centre between the hours of 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to say hello to the community’s new physician.
Dr. Haldorson has been practising in Snow Lake since late August and is somewhat acquainted with many locals, but this was their chance to come out and interact with the practitioner in a less formal setting.
People in attendance sat and talked, drank coffee and were treated to some of the best homemade donuts this cowboy has ever tasted. Attendees took turns speaking with Dr. Haldorson and some of the wee folks were mightily impressed with his ever-present and aging corgi/husky Innu. The doctor’s father was also in the crowd.
Snow Lake’s new doctor was born and raised in Manitoba and attended the University of Manitoba, attaining a bachelor of science followed by his medical doctor degree. Dr. Haldorson received family medicine training at the Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia at Fort St. John, and the Northern Regional Health Authority advises that his training focused on being a full scope rural general practitioner. They advised in a summer 2018 media release that being the “town doctor” for a small community was one thing that drew him to Snow Lake.
In other news, Peter Roberts was elected mayor of Snow Lake in the Oct. 24 municipal election. Roberts, a descendant of area pioneers, won handily against two other candidates. The final vote tally was Roberts 285, Jodi Wilson 113, Marian Grajciar 9. (There was also a plebiscite question on the ballot: Should licensed cannabis stores be allowed in the Town of Snow Lake? Those results: yes 256, no 147)
As he is the new mayor, and with all but one member new to council, I took the occasion to ask Roberts about the issues he feels the new council should hit the ground running with.
“Heading into our next four years, we have some challenges ahead of us,” Roberts stated. “Staffing will be our top priority, right out of the gate. Securing someone for our vacant CAO [chief administrative officer] position will be priority one. We need someone in place to lead our work force, provide direction to council, work on outdated bylaws, and keep our ratepayers informed.”
The new mayor said the town also needs to get their work force back up to capacity, most notably the utilities and public works departments.
“Infrastructure is always a high priority, not just sewer and water, but our facilities need upgrading as well,” said mayor-elect Roberts. “We need to make sure that we stay on top of things on the provincial level, to ensure that funding does not dry up on us there. We need the infrastructure grants to remain in place in order for us to continue our current sewer and water upgrades.”
Mr. Roberts noted he’d also like to see Hudbay continue their support of the community, pointing to a recent sewer and water project in the community’s Brentwood subdivision. He said they were instrumental in bringing it to completion.
“We are currently in negotiations to try and ink an amicable agreement with Hudbay Minerals and Frontier School Division,” said Roberts noting he’d personally like a five-year term, in order to carry out the council’s current five year plan. “I am hopeful we can have this done for our 2019 budget. Early talks to date have been very positive on this.”
The mayor-elect says that he would like to see the new council partner with other key players in the community like the Chamber of Commerce and Greenstone. “Our five-year plan is a growing entity; it would be nice to have more input, and council working with these groups just makes sound economic sense,” he said.
While not a part of the town, Roberts says that the council will need to keep in touch with Manitoba Infrastructure, in order to ensure area roads get some much needed attention. “There is a plan in the works for early 2019 to do some turnout lanes at the access road, Hwy. 395 (Chisel/Lalor Jct.) and the Berry/Taylor Bay access,” he explained. “While it seems like a small step, it is a step in the right direction. Here again we need to stay on top of the provincial government to ensure funding for the North doesn’t dry up.”
Closing off the interview, Roberts stated, “I believe getting these few things done early in our term will be the key to making the next four years productive.”
One final note; Rockcliff Metals Corporation has announced they will commence diamond drilling at Laguna Gold Property directly. The first phase drill program will focus south of the former high-grade gold mine, where additional quartz veins carrying visible gold and sulphides were discovered this fall. The Laguna Gold Property hosts the past producing Rex-Laguna Mine that was Manitoba’s first and highest-grade gold mine. The proposed 2,500 metres of drilling marks the first drill program on the property in over 70 years.