Gerry Byrne says he can't help but notice a change of attitude in the people he represents as the MHA for Corner Brook,
Over the past 12 months, Byrne saw a lot of good things unfold in Corner Brook and he’s excited about bringing about more good news for the people he represents.
“There’s a strong sense of optimism, confidence and potential for growth in Corner Brook,” he said.
Byrne, who also serves as minister of Fisheries and Land Resources, believes there are a number of key pillars that must be the focus if the city is going to grow and prosper moving forward. Here are his priorities for 2018:
1) Health care. Byrne believes health-care needs in Corner Brook will only get better after things got rolling with the letting of the contract for construction of the 145-bed long-term care facility in Corner Brook.
The next step, he said, is construction of the new acute-care hospital which he views as the jewel in the crown of objectives for improving health-care services to the residents.
He said conditions at Western Memorial have gotten worse in the 10 years since the idea of building a new hospital was brought to light in 2007 so it’s long overdue.
“It’s not a want. It’s a need,” Byrne said.
2) Education. Byrne welcomed improvements to College of the North Atlantic and Grenfell Campus of Memorial University in 2017 and he’s looking forward to more changes that will enhance both institutions over the next 12 months.
The College of the North Atlantic received a $4.3-million upgrade in 2017 and the development of a Centre of Energy and Excellence and Workforce Innovation Centre.
He's also excited about life getting better at Grenfell Campus with an expansion to its agricultural studies program on the list of good things to happen in the New Year.
3) Infrastructure. Seeing some wastewater upgrades, a major overhaul of the Main Street Bridge and an investment in the expansion of Willow House were some of the things Byrne was happy to see develop in the past year.
Looking ahead to 2018, he’s anxious to see what happens with the recreational swimming pool study that was commissioned by the City of Corner Brook in partnership with a number of key stakeholders.
He said the provincial government will be there for financial assistance if they are asked to support an initiative he believes will serve his constituents well for their existing and future needs.
4) Job creation. Working to ensure employment opportunities exist for Corner Brook residents is an ongoing priority for Byrne.
He was happy to see new 30 provincial government jobs created in Corner Brook through the transfer of the government’s Crown Lands branch in 2017 and he sees great things coming in 2018.
He believes there will be significant construction and engineering jobs created as a result of the infrastructure initiatives. The long-term care facility is one area where he sees a lot of potential with upwards of 200 new positions being created.
5) Connection to his constituents. Staying in close contact with the people who elected him to serve will continue to be one of his goals in his role as MHA for Corner Brook.
He said the most important job for any MHA is to represent and advocate on behalf of individual citizens and he plans on being available to them.
He’s committed to making sure his constituents get access to programs and services that are available and the people deserve.
*** Corrected named of Grenfell Campus, Dec. 28 ****