It remains to be seen if the Village of Midway has found a replacement for the outgoing doctor at the village’s only medical clinic.
Village council voted last fall not to renew the Midway Medical Clinic’s lease with Dr. Jesse Thompson, who stated in a Jan. 14 letter to patients that he hadn’t lined up anyone to take over his practice. Council has refused to disclose its reasons for not renewing the lease.
Thompson’s lease expires Friday, Feb. 25, according to Mayor Martin Fromme.
Fromme in a signed statement posted to the village website last November assured residents that, “If the present doctor should leave before a replacement is secured, the Rural Locum Program will assist to ensure there is continued coverage until the replacement takes over.”
Fromme declined to comment any further on Wednesday, Feb. 23. The matter remains the subject of in-camera discussions, he said.
A receptionist at the clinic said Thompson was closing his practice at the end of day, Wednesday.
The agenda for council’s regular meeting Tuesday, Feb. 22, lists an in-camera discussion regarding “negotiations and related discussions respecting the proposed provision of a municipal service.”
Municipal councils can hold meetings or parts of meeting in-camera (meaning, closed to public view) according to the Community Charter.
Section 90 of the Charter lays out 15 instances where council meetings should be held in-camera. Broadly speaking, these cover situations involving the sale or purchase of municipal property, municipal personnel issues and municipal legal matters.
Guidelines by the Office of the B.C. Ombudsperson recommend that local governments hold meetings in-camera when discussing issues that could harm the interests of a third party. The guidelines further advise that in-camera information be released as soon as there’s no more need for secrecy.
A limited release of information upfront would be preferable to waiting for an appropriate time for full publication.
“Local governments should strive to release as much information as possible as often as possible, in order to demonstrate their commitment to the principles of transparency and accountability and to receive the benefit of a more informed, engaged and trusting public,” the guidelines state.
Thompson was not available for comment after numerous requests by The Times/Gazette.
The Village of Midway owns the building that houses the Midway Medical Clinic at 500 Haynes St, according to the village website.