Mayor Simon Yu now thinks Prince George may not need emergency shelters this winter after all
It was a top campaign promise but now the new mayor isn't sure it's necessary
Howdy. Last night Prince George’s mayor and council was sworn in. Their first meeting opened with mayor Simon Yu saying “Good evening, bonjour, ni hao,” reflecting his status as the first mayor of Chinese descent in the city and, he said, the first first-generation Asian immigrant to be mayor in B.C. — something I’m interested to find out if it’s true. I planned to share an annotated version of his remarks but I’ll have to wait for the council meeting to be posted online in order to make sure I got it all. Instead, I’ll note his remarks elsewhere, in an interview with my old stomping grounds at CBC Daybreak North.
In the segment, posted two hours and six minutes into the stream here, the program notes — as I have here — that throughout his election campaign, Yu continuously referenced his experience building emergency shelters after the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia and promising to do the same for Prince George’s homeless population ahead of the winter. During the forum at the Omineca arts centre, he even started doing the math on how many homes he could fit into the building:
So with temperatures dropping and snow on the ground, the question was posed: How about those shelters? Well, now Yu isn’t sure they’re needed:
“I did a little bit of investigation, in terms of how many cots we have available… I think we might be OK for this winter,” he said before adding that his first item of business will be to get more details from the relevant agencies.
But he also suggests that being so close to Asia, Prince George might become an “international relief shelter depot for the world” with emergency shelters being manufactured in Prince George and shipped overseas.
Meanwhile, it seems despite the cold temperatures Prince George does not yet have emergency shelters open (B.C. Housing also isn’t listing anything). So… we’ll see.
Winter questions on /r/princegeorge:
I’m enjoying seeing the debates over winter question on the prince george subreddit, namely:
School District 57’s board was also sworn in with Rachael Weber — who was acclaimed as the representative for Mackenzie — elected chair. (Although it is frequently referred to as the Prince George school board, District 57 also extends to Mackenzie and the Robson Valley. Until 2018, everyone voted for all seven candidates but in 2018 that was changed so that people in Prince George would get five trustees and the other two regions would get one each, to ensure representation). This is, to my knowledge, the first time a non-Prince George representative will be chair.
Prince George is on pace to having its deadliest year yet in the toxic drug crisis, with 56 people killed in 2022. That is the seventh-highest for any city in B.C., and eleventh-highest per capita. As always, the coroner notes, “no deaths have been reported at supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites.”
CUPE is calling out UNBC for contracting out its campus cleaners to a French multinational corporation, arguing it is resulting in workers with low wages, little-to-no benefits and poor job security.
The Lheidli T’enneh First Nation unveiled a new on-reserve health centre for members to see doctors and receive medical care, intending for it to be a safe space for Elders and other community member who distrust the medical system or who have had negative interactions with doctors in the past.
Northern Health is having trouble distributing flu vaccines, in part because so many more people want them than in past years. The reason? The public education campaign around COVID-19 and community health has led people who may have skipped the flu shot in the past to think more about how getting one is an important part of community health (I confess, this applies to me).
It’s the annual tow truck operators are busy after the first ice of the season story!
Also, enjoy this feature on the man who plays bagpipes at local Remembrance Day and other official ceremonies.
That’s that for today!