Saturday, September 18, 2021
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COVID-19: East Kootenay MLA calls for inter-provincial travel restrictions

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Travel could be heavily restricted between Alberta and British Columbia if one regional district just across the border gets its way.

Last week, the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) held a meeting and heard from the area’s MLA, Tom Shypitka.

He wants BC’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry to consider implementing inter-provincial travel restrictions to protect East Kootenay communities as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Shypitka specifically points to the upcoming Easter weekend and out-of-town visitors who usually flock to the region.

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“This isn’t about people coming in across the border,” says Shypitka. “We’re receptive to the fact that we love our Albertan neighbours and we rely on them to a large degree for a lot of things, but it’s not the people we’re opposed to, it’s the cause and effect from the trans-migratory travel that’s going to be deadly for us.”

The RDEK has since approved and sent off a letter to Dr. Henry “requesting that additional measures, such as closure of Provincial borders to non-essential traffic” be considered.

There is also concern about the health care system in the East Kootenays, the strain on emergency services, essential services and grocery stores which may not be fully equipped to handle a large influx of people.

(Files from Bradley Jones,

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Patrick Siedlecki

Pat has been a mainstay in the CJOC News department from the time the station launched in 2007. He’s been in the position of News Director since then and has been anchoring daily news casts as well as reporting and working behind the scenes.

Community is important to him and keeping CJOC listeners and readers informed about what’s happening across southern Alberta and beyond.

Pat has been in radio broadcasting for the past 24 years, starting in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island in 1997 and then moving up island to Nanaimo for another few years before heading to Lethbridge in 2007.

Pat grew up in the small Saskatchewan farming town of Foam Lake. After high school, he went to Western Academy Broadcasting College (WABC) in Saskatoon prior to moving to the island.

Pat also spent several years broadcasting hockey in the BCHL as well as seven years as the radio voice of the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL.

Pat has been working at Cornerstone Funeral Home in Lethbridge as a Certified Life Celebrant and Funeral Assistant since 2016.

News and sports have always been Pat’s passion from the time he was a teenager and he’s always been grateful to have had the opportunity to make that part of what’s been a fun and long radio career!

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