Oct 05 2005
Riding size poses challenges

The constituency offices in Kimberley, Golden and Revelstoke have been open for one month now, and I'm happy to report that things are functioning well. Constituency staff are quickly able to respond to constituent concerns and I am getting a good sense of the issues in each community.
The Legislative Assembly provides each constituency with the same operating budget regardless of the size of the constituency or the number of offices required to serve that constituency. This constituency, Columbia River-Revelstoke, is the only constituency in the province to have three offices, yet our budget is the same as Victoria Hillside or Vancouver Point Grey, where a single office and one full-time Constituency Assistant is adequate.
As a result, we have to use our limited resources very wisely. Each office has limited hours and each staff member works on part-time basis, but each one of my constituency staff is committed to serving the people in their communities and that is what makes this system work.
When you call our offices you will sometimes hear our recorded message. It is important that you leave us a message. Each of the offices is equipped with only one phone and each office has only one staff member. If you hear the message during office hours, staff are either on the phone with another constituent or are assisting a constituent in the office. Phone calls are returned promptly during office hours, or during the next office day if you call outside of office hours.
E-mail is the most common form of communication we receive but it can also have the most difficulties. We have discovered through trial and error that e-mails sent to slightly wrong addresses within the Legislative e-mail system do NOT bounce back to the sender. The legislative system also has a very strict spam/virus filter that can quarantine messages and make them difficult to retrieve. As a result, some people have sent us messages and have been dismayed when they have not received any response. We respond to every constituent e-mail we receive, and generally do so within two business days. If you do not receive a response to your e-mail, please phone us to follow-up.
Our e-mail address is norm.macdonald.mla@leg.bc.ca. The most common errors made are the omitting of .mla and using norman instead of norm. You can avoid spam control troubles by not using large attachments in unusual formats, fancy backgrounds, or subject lines like "Hi" or "Call me."
This may seem like a strange topic for a MLA report, but it is important to me that you be successful when you try to reach me.
My job is to hold the government accountable and to make sure that our perspective is heard. I need you to help me do that.
Please continue to send me your health care stories and suggestions. I will be compiling a Columbia River - Revelstoke Health Services Document at the end of October, which will be presented to the Minister of Health and to Interior Health.
Norm Macdonald and constituency staff will be in Invermere on Thursday, Oct. 13 at the Best Western Invermere Inn to meet with constituents. Watch for the ad in this week's paper.
Call toll-free 1 (800) 663 - 7867, and ask for (250) 344 - 1359
Mail to Box 2052 Golden BC V0A 1H0 and e-mail at norm.mac-donald.mla@leg.bc.ca.

© Copyright 2007 Invermere Valley Echo