Community

Mission MLA continues community service

Abbotsford-Mission MLA Simon Gibson chats with his constituency assistants Mark Duymes and Jean Dykshoorn inside his First Avenue office. - Carol Aun photo
Abbotsford-Mission MLA Simon Gibson chats with his constituency assistants Mark Duymes and Jean Dykshoorn inside his First Avenue office.
— image credit: Carol Aun photo

Abbotsford-Mission MLA Simon Gibson has carried a quote by Soren Kierkegaard with him for years.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

It’s one of his favourites, written inside a little notebook of personal reflections.

As a politician, teacher and columnist, Gibson often engages others in conversation and he shares these interesting stories or thought-provoking anecdotes with people from all walks of life.

“People want to talk about important things,” said Gibson, noting light-hearted chats about the weather are no longer the norm. “I welcome that as an MLA; I want to make a difference.”

Gibson has spent a lot of time working with Mission council to take truck traffic off First Avenue.

“I’m confident we’re able to do that,” said Gibson, adding that the biggest challenge is overcoming the estimated $2.6-million price tag to make it happen. “It will require some creativity to complete.”

As Gibson meets with municipalities to work out issues, his constituency assistants Jean Dykshoorn and Mark Duymes work on his behalf to assist constituents.

The MLA’s office is a resource for many people needing government resources or help in resolving problems related to provincial organizations.

For example, Dykshoorn says the office helped a woman with a Pharmacare issue.

The woman pre-paid a medical prescription for her son, but the pharmacy, which had incorrectly filled out the paperwork, said she would not be getting money back from Pharmacare. Once the mistake was discovered, the woman was reimbursed for the medication.

While Gibson is enjoying his work, he notes being MLA isn’t his crowning achievement.

“It’s just another way to serve people,” he said.

And it seems if you want Gibson to do something, all you have to do is ask. That’s the way he started his 30-plus year career as a city councillor in Abbotsford, and what prompted him to run for the BC Liberals last spring.

For more than six months, Gibson served double duty as a councillor and MLA, but only picked up a paycheque for his MLA work. He attended just half a dozen Abbotsford council meetings, the minimum required under the Local Government Act to avoid a byelection.

In addition to spending less time with Abbotsford council, Gibson also resigned from the Fraser Valley Regional Transit Committee, the Abbotsford-Mission Transit Committee, the library board and the parks and rec commission.

As an MLA, Gibson serves on the Treasury Board, Public Accounts Committee and the Pacific Northwest Economic Region.

Gibson’s introduction to culture in Victoria was during a rare summer session to adopt the budget.

“It was a very formal environment, steeped in tradition,” said Gibson of the B.C. Legislature.

He looks forward to seeing the inner harbour from his Victoria office when the spring session begins in February.

“While it can be a challenge to represent two communities, I’m sensitive to the needs of both communities and spend as much time as possible in both places.”

Gibson’s constituency office is on First Avenue.

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