Community Papers

Optometrist celebrates 30 years

Dr. Joan Hansen of the Tsawwassen Optometry Clinic celebrates 30 years in Tsawwassen.  - Robert Mangelsdorf
Dr. Joan Hansen of the Tsawwassen Optometry Clinic celebrates 30 years in Tsawwassen.
— image credit: Robert Mangelsdorf

If most of Tsawwassen recognizes Dr. Joan Hansen, it’s because she has done her job.

The local optometrist is responsible for improving the eyesight for thousands of residents and recently celebrated 30 years practicing in Tsawwassen.

During that span, she has seen the community grow up around her.

“I’m now having the bifocal conversation with patients I’ve known since they were teenagers,” says Hansen.

Hansen, herself, grew up in Manitoba to Danish parents and studied optometry at the University of Waterloo, graduating in 1979. A friend living in Tsawwassen suggested she come out west, as the community did not have an optometrist at the time.

“I came to visit in the middle of winter and I couldn’t believe how green everything was,” says Hansen. “It was -30C when I left Winnipeg.”

When she arrived in 1983, Hansen gave herself three years to decide whether or not she’d stay.

“I’ve been here 30 years now.”

Over the past three decades Hansen has made Tsawwassen her home, and has spent considerable time and effort giving back to the community.

Hansen is a charter member of the Tsawwassen Rotary Club, and sits on the board of the Tsawwassen Business Improvement Association, as well as the Delta Police Board.

Hansen is five and a half years into her six-year term on the police board, where she helps ensure the local department gets the resources it needs to effectively do their job.

“We have a pretty phenomenal police force and a pretty great chief,” says Hansen. “We’re one of the safest communities in B.C., so that says a lot.”

Hansen has also served the president of both the B.C. and Canada Association of Optometrists.

“I’ve always wanted to be at the table when a decision is being made so I can have my voice heard, rather than be dictated to,” she says. “My way might not be the way we go with, but at least I’ve had my say.”

Not surprisingly, Hansen says politics is something that interests her, once she retires, of course.

“But I’ve still got a few more years left,” she says. “I think 2020 would be a good year to retire.”

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