MLA Larson and her staff are managing to cope well after recent fire gutted office

By on May 14, 2014
Local MLA Linda Larson talked to volunteer firefighters from Oliver after a fire caused significant damage to her Main Street office three weeks ago. The fire started in a house adjacent to Larson’s office and quickly spread. Larson and her staff have been coping well since the fire. (Lyonel Doherty file photo)

Local MLA Linda Larson talked to volunteer firefighters from Oliver after a fire caused significant damage to her Main Street office three weeks ago. The fire started in a house adjacent to Larson’s office and quickly spread. Larson and her staff have been coping well since the fire. (Lyonel Doherty file photo)

It will take more than a fire to uproot the team behind Boundary-Similkameen MLA Linda Larson.

“I am extremely lucky to have constituency assistants who can do their job from anywhere at any time,” Larson said.

The recent fire that destroyed a house on Main Street in Oliver severely damaged her constituency office. Since then, staff has had to cope as best they can.

“While I have been in Victoria most of the time since January, Colleen (Misner) and Patt (Vermiere) have not missed a beat and continue to handle all emails, phone calls and concerns sent to our contact numbers,” Larson said. “I am sure they will be happy to resume some degree of normalcy when we get resettled.”

Misner and Vermiere have been working remotely from their home offices, similar to what they did last summer during the setup of the constituency office.

“Most of our work is done via email and over the phone, so we have been able to keep up with everything coming our way,” Misner said.

She admitted the day of the fire was very stressful, and it took a couple of days for them to bounce back.

Misner said they were more concerned about how the family was doing after they escaped the fire.

“It was a huge relief to know that they got out of the home safely.”

Misner said they knew that the people in this wonderful community would step up to help the family.

As far as business is concerned, Larson’s staff is coping one day at a time. Initially, they had to make sure they could access their emails and phone lines as usual.

The phone lines are being checked frequently for messages, and staff has access to all of their electronic files.

Misner is working hard to get the new office space set up as quickly as possible.

“We are pleased to announce we have found a temporary home until we know the future of the old office. An announcement will be made just as soon as we know when we will be open to the public.”

Misner said the biggest challenge they face is that most of the contents (aside from confidential files that were locked up safely) were lost due to water and smoke damage. So it means starting over and ordering new desks, chairs, office supplies, etc.

Misner and Vermiere have been receiving calls from constituents, some wanting to ensure that their concerns were not getting lost in the shuffle.

“While we obviously cannot meet with constituents in our homes, we have been able to arrange meeting places to get forms signed and keep the ball rolling,” Misner said.

Vermiere continues to do her outreach work within the communities they serve.

LYONEL DOHERTY

Special to the Times

 

 

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