Dr. Pieter De Wet demonstrates an unwavering commitment to his community
Since coming to McLennan almost twenty years ago, Dr. Pieter De Wet has had a close involvement with the community.
Having arrived from South Africa with his wife Cato and their two young children to establish his practice as a family doctor, Dr. De Wet immediately recognized McLennan as a friendly place and felt a strong affinity for the community and the region.
“Right away I felt it was a welcoming place,” he said. “I have never regretted moving to McLennan.”
Dr. De Wet with wife Cato, son Ignus and daughter Lizelle dressed in period costume in South Africa.
Beyond his role as family doctor, De Wet also became involved in the more practical, hands-on matters such as improving the environment and advancing the interests of the community and the region. That involvement continues to the present.
The extent of Pieter De Wet’s contribution to the McLennan community in particular and the Peace River region in general, involves a wide variety of initiatives and projects over the years.
Dr. De Wet with hospital staff during a boat trip on the Peace River, approximately one year after arriving in McLennan.
However, one particular experience he has cited as a perfect example of teamwork and collaboration between various groups and individuals is his involvement in organizing the McLennan Centennial Celebrations for June 2014.
“That took an enormous amount of cooperation by so many different people and organizations in the community.”
Dr. De Wet’s role as president of the McLennan Leisure and Recreation Society (MLRS) has been particularly productive.
Working relentlessly towards the beautification and enhancement of the town, the MLRS has placed 50 benches throughout McLennan, planted 500 trees, created five ponds and erected a sundial on the hospital grounds.
The Society also created a 3km walking loop by the Kimiwan Lake and bird sanctuary. The walking trail runs in close proximity to the two senior’s residences, Manor East and Manor West, providing access to seniors.
Dr. DeWet and the other members of the MLRS accomplished the above without receiving any grants or government assistance. The project, funded entirely by donations illustrates, once again, cooperation and community self-reliance.
Family photo of Dr. De Wet with wife Cato and in front daughter Lizelle and son Ignus.
More recently, as part of a MLRS delegation Dr. De Wet spoke at a regular meeting of McLennan Town Council in June 2016, to explore cooperative measures with the town in using the MLRS casino funds to pave the trail system, making it wheelchair accessible and possibly suitable as a biking trail.
At the same meeting, Dr. De Wet discussed the MLRS intention to plant an additional 160 elm trees, strategically placed to enhance the appearance of the town without encumbering town maintenance such as snow removal.
Shortly following Dr. De Wet’s and the delegations conversation with council, with the assistance of numerous volunteers, Dr. De Wet and other members of MLRS planted the 160 elm trees.
Dr Pieter De Wet with shovel during the planting of 160 elm trees in McLennan early summer 2016.
Dr. Pieter DeWet’s, is also a director on the board of McLennan and District Chamber of Commerce and while his vigorous efforts for the betterment of McLennan are widely recognized, his efforts also extend to the region also.
In November 2014, Dr. De Wet received the Peace Region Economic Development Alliance, “Award of Excellence” in recognition of his continuing dedication to the interests of the region.
Another positive outcome of the MLRS’ and Dr. De Wet’s conversation with council in June, is that MLRS in partnership with the Town of McLennan have tentatively scheduled the paving of the Kimiwan Lake walking trail for sometime fall 2016.
Dr. Pieter De Wet giving suturing instruction to a group of student healthcare professionals during a medical skills event organized by Smoky River Rural Physician Action Plan at McLennan Hospital in March 2016.
From left: Claudette Meardi, Dr. De Wet and Joyce Ray at the old clinic in McLennan.
Celebrating his birthday with Cato, Ignus and Lizelle