The evacuation of Cariboo communities and the establishment of emergency social services in Prince George has resulted in people from all walks of life making Prince George their home away from home.
Most are making the best of the situation by giving back to their temporary community and their fellow evacuees in any way they can. Such is the case for Dr. Joliel Steyl, who was forced to flee Williams Lake with her family and dog following the evacuation order.
Soon after she arrived at the Emergency Reception Centre at the College of New Caledonia, Dr. Style set to work tending to the medical needs of some of the more vulnerable of her fellow evacuees, many of whom were already her patients in Williams Lake. Later, Dr. Steyl connected with the Northern Health Authority, which established a remote health care clinic at the College.
“There is a lot of stress and people are tired, but we’re quite happy to provide solutions,” says Dr. Steyl. “It’s good to see our own patients and for the patients to see a familiar face. It’s also good to connect with the people from Williams Lake. Patients appreciate we are here for them.”
Dr. Steyl, who is an emergency room doctor in Williams Lake, has been camping in a local campground with her family like many other evacuees. She says her short time in Prince George, while a whirlwind, has been very positive.
“It is more fast-paced here. It’s like a walk-in clinic environment. Everyone has been so helpful to make it work – with such incredible support,” says Dr. Steyl. “You sometimes get quite tired, but it is good to keep busy and have a routine. Everyone’s been so good to us in PG.”
Dr. Steyl came to Williams Lake in 2011 from South Africa and says she is excited to become a Canadian citizen one day. She also wonders at the great support systems we have in Canada and is surprised how quickly everything came together.
“I sincerely appreciate the hard work everyone has demonstrated in responding to this crisis, especially that of our staff members, managers, and physicians in Quesnel and Prince George,” says Cathy Ulrich, Northern Health President and CEO. “I am also grateful for those who have volunteered to help from across Northern Health and to those Interior Health physicians and staff who have joined with us to support the residents from the Cariboo region. I am proud to work with all of you.”
Health Clinic details and additional services for evacuees
Dr. Steyl is working at Northern Health’s Health Management Service Clinic, which was set up at the College of New Caledonia (CNC) for evacuees. The clinic provides assessment and stabilization, and connects evacuees to the supports and services they need. The clinic is available to evacuees regardless of where they are staying.
People housed at the Northern Sport Centre (NSC) can get to the CNC clinic on a free wheelchair-accessible shuttle service provided by the City of Prince George:
- Service between the NSC and CNC – 24 hours a day
- Daytime: Every ½ hour from 11 am – 7 pm
- Evening/night: Every hour from 7 pm – 11 am
Walk-In clinic extended hours are currently as follows (this is subject to change, please contact clinic for up-to-date hours of operation):
- Salveo Clinic: Mon-Fri 8am-7pm Sat, Sun & Stats 9am-3pm
- Nechako Clinic: for the week of July 16-22: Mon – Fri 1pm-9pm, Sat 9am-7pm, Sun 10am-7pm
In addition to health, safety, and first aid services, evacuees have a number of other important provisions available to them:
- people, pet, and livestock registration
- people, pet, and livestock accommodation
- personal support services
- food services
- communication services including long-distance phone calls
- parking and transportation services
- insurance and financial relief services
- mail, custodial, and laundry services
- leisure and kids activities
-City of Prince George