A rally to save Pathways Addictions Resource Centre is planned for today, Sunday, March 14 from noon to 2 p.m.
Organizers are encouraging anyone who would like to show their support for Pathways to join them in a peaceful and socially distanced demonstration. The hope is people can line the sidewalks, standing six feet apart from Pathways, all the way to the Interior Health building, said Shane Surowski, one of the organizers.
The rally starts in front of Pathways, at 996 Main St., with people holding signs showing their support.
“We plan to do this every Sunday for a while,” said Surowski.
Many members of the community, along with Penticton MLA Dan Ashton, South Okanagan MP Richard Cannings and members of city council have come out against Interior Health’s decision to pull funding from the long-standing addictions centre in Penticton.
Work has already started to transition addiction services in-house and away from Pathways, said Dr. Shallen Letwin, IH vice president of clinical operations.
In a press conference with Penticton media last Wednesday, Letwin confirmed that Interior Health will absorb Pathways’ client base.
“We are integrating our mental health and addictions services by bringing in a team that will help all facets of their (clients) journey,” Letwin said.
But many in the community worry that the trust and continuity that Pathways has offered for the past two decades can’t be matched by a large health authority.
Clients and past clients have credited Pathways for their sobriety.
With nearly 100 per cent of their funding coming from IH, Pathways has started a GoFundMe page to try and keep them open.
More than $4,000 has been raised in a GoFundMe account to help keep Pathways open past June 1, when IH pulls all its funding. A Change.org petition now has more than 2,600 signatures from people opposing IH’s decision.
Currently, there are nine counsellors and clinical staff at Pathways.
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