The City of Penticton will not become a funding partner to Pathways Addictions Resource Centre.
A notice of motion was proposed by coun. Julius Bloomfield and would have asked city staff to look into a shared funding model to help Pathways offer its services for free.
But the motion was rejected by most of council, who said that it would be taking on funding that clearly needs to come from the provincial government.
Since Interior Health (IH) pulled all its funding as of May 31, Pathways has had to go to a fee-for-service model to stay open.
“Pathways is a much-needed service in our community,” said Bloomfield at the Tuesday council meeting. “As community leaders we can play a role.”
“We’ve all watched this unfold over this year and it’s been tragic for the addicted and those suffering in mental health,” said coun. Frank Regehr. “They’ve moved over to a fee for service to keep the doors open and that makes it difficult for those who don’t have the resources to pay.”
“How did the provincial government allow IH to shut Pathways down?” said Regehr. “It’s because of the inability of the province managing addictions and mental health. That’s the problem in our community.”
Coun. James Miller made a plea to IH to reverse their de-funding decision.
“This is Interior Health’s responsibility and shame on [IH CEO] Susan Brown and Carl Meadows on a very poor job of communicating,” said Miller.
“If IH is watching, please reconsider and do the right thing,” said Miller who also asked IH to come back to city council to share how the services are going since they’ve taken over.
“Unfortunately I’m adamantly opposed to this. It’s clearly a provincial responsibility,” said coun. Katie Robinson.
“We are losing focus on our jurisdiction. The city is responsible for roads, water and sewage. I’d love to cure the ills of the world but that’s not our jurisdiction. I’ll never be in support of downloading on our taxpayers,” said Robinson.
“The welfare of the people in the community is something we need to concern ourselves with as well,” said Bloomfield. For the cost of one police officer at $190,000, you could help Pathways, he said. Bloomfield contended keeping Pathways funded is much more effective than hiring an RCMP officer.
Coun. Campbell Watt said he hopes Pathways comes back to them for grant or bridge funding.
Pathways just announced that it is re-introducing several group sessions and programs are back in session including recovery for newcomers, a family and friends group and others.
Future groups also include the very successful and widely requested Women’s DEW (Daily Empowerment for Women) which is an outpatient treatment program for women.
Executive director Daryl Meyers said all the programs do require a fee but subsidies are available thanks to the generosity of the community.
When Pathways re-opened it kicked off a ‘Give a Gift of Service’ campaign that goes directly to help individuals who can’t afford to pay for counselling and services.
“The campaign has had great community support and funding is available for people who are unable to pay,” she said.
To book an appointment, register for a group or individual, couples, or family counselling session, or find out what is happening next, you can visit our website at www.pathwaysaddictions.ca or call the office at 250-492-0400. You can also find us on Facebook @PathwaysAddictions
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