Where did the health money go?

Valley Journal Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE -

have been done last year! Many other ar­eas of the province have sim­i­lar big needs.... Why was the money left un­spent? What was it spent on in­stead?

The rea­son the num­ber even came to my at­ten­tion was be­cause I asked Min­is­ter Leo Glavine about this year’s plans. In the five-year plan for cap­i­tal con­struc­tion, which the De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion pub­lishes, it shows a dial­y­sis build­ing for Val­ley Re­gional this year, 2016-2017. Where was that money show­ing in the bud­get? The an­swer: in the $34.144 mil­lion bud­geted for this year in hos­pi­tal in­fra­struc­ture. That an­swer called my at­ten­tion to that line, which showed last year’s bud­get and ac­tual spend­ing too.

Given how lit­tle of last year’s bud­geted money was ac­tu­ally spent, one can only won­der what will re­ally get done with this year’s $34 mil­lion. What good is a plan or num­bers on a page, if you don’t ac­tu­ally plan to do what it says? All in all, a shock­ing rev­e­la­tion of how poorly man­aged our de­part­ment of Health and Well­ness re­ally is.

Ev­ery­one con­tin­ues to watch the gi­ant wild­fire in the Fort McMur­ray area af­ter that huge evac­u­a­tion. It brought back mem­o­ries of another for­est fire tale I heard as a cub re­porter at the Hants Jour­nal.

In those days, I loved an ex­cuse to get out of town and meet some of the grass­roots res­i­dents of the county, so I headed out High­way 14.

Back in the 1970s, the Hants Jour­nal cor­re­spon­dent for Up­per Vaughan was a woman who made eight ap­ple pies in an af­ter­noon just be­cause she had the ap­ples. Vi­ola Smeltzer taught me that for­est fires were not un­com­mon in in­te­rior Nova Sco­tia in the era when the ma­jor em­ploy­ment was lum­ber­ing and milling. Hants County was no ex­cep­tion.

So I learned first hand about a huge for­est fire that took place dur­ing the dry sum­mer of 1917.

Smeltzer re­called the fire be­gan be­hind Falls Lake. She and her hus­band, Wal­lace, were both work­ing at a lum­ber camp along the Ch­ester Road at the time.

“We had seen it in the morn­ing, but there was no phones then to con­tact any­body,” the 83-year-old said.

“We didn’t know what to do so the next thing we did was to load a trunk on my brother-in­law’s wagon. Fi­nally as things were get­ting worse I took my two-year-old son and drove a white horse to Wind­sor Forks.”

Later, her hus­band, driv­ing another wagon and hold­ing a young pig, ar­rived at Wind­sor Forks. The fire burned all the way to Fal­mouth. It de­stroyed all the Smeltzers’ be­long­ings, which were not on the first wagon, and a whole win­ter’s wood at the camp.

The Smeltzers also re­called a woman who es­caped the fury of the fire by stand­ing overnight in one of the sev­eral lakes in the vicin­ity.

In the era be­fore the forests were all cut over, Smeltzer reg­u­larly fed 40 men ev­ery day as the cook in the lum­ber camp. No won­der eight pies were a breeze for her. Her hus­band earned a dol­lar a day in the woods at that time.

Smelter’s grand­daugh­ter, Nancy Maxner, of Wind­sor, was also re­mem­ber­ing that fam­ily tale this past month.

“As I re­call, Grammy was preg­nant with my un­cle Ge­orge. The lit­tle boy was my dad. Grammy saved her fam­ily bi­ble. My dad saved a wooden horse that was carved by a worker at the camp. It was his only toy, so he was hold­ing it in the es­cape.”

We all heard about what some­times strange things folks in For Mac grabbed when they had to evac­u­ate town in a hurry. Nancy said her brother has that toy horse to­day — a piece of mem­o­ra­bilia with an amaz­ing prove­nance.

“They al­ways talked about the fire on Hem­lock Hill. Mother Na­ture is a cruel and kind mistress,” Maxner said. So true.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.