City council will be giving a small grant to Pathways Addiction Resource Centre, but not the full $344,000 the program was asking for.
After some debate, council voted 4-3 to instead approve $10,000 in grant funding that will be included in the 2022 budget that will go to funding the centre’s counselling services. Councillors Katie Robinson, Judy Sentes and Campbell Watt voted against the $10,000.
Council maintained its position of being unwilling to let the municipality shoulder the financial burden that should belong to higher levels of government.
The $344,144 request would make up 70 per cent of the centre’s operating costs, according to the information provided by city staff.
It was floated as a possibility of funding $50,000 of the centre’s needs, but only if the province or higher levels provide the remainder of the funding. But that proposal was rejected.
Coun. Robinson noted that the grant budget was already over $30,000 above what had been planned, and that the city should not have to pay for what Pathways provides.
“My heart goes out to Pathways and everybody that it helps in this community. We’ve all said before what a wonderful asset it is to the city, but it is clearly under the mandate of the provincial government,” said Robinson.
Other councillors expressed their concerns about setting a precedent with providing the funds, as well as the need for Pathways’ services in the community.
“I think that we need to be part of the solution, to show intent and be proactive in assisting the recovery of the people who need it most rather than saying it’s other governments’ responsibility,” said Bloomfield.
Coun. James Miller once again pointed to Interior Health as the responsible body for funding the centre.
“I find it repugnant how they handled this file,” said Miller. “My concern might be is precedence setting; could Interior Health come along and slash another worthwhile program and then if we’ve done this for Pathways how can we not do it for another worthwhile cause?”
Instead, Miller proposed a more modest $10,000 grant, which he said would provide 100 hours of Pathways’ counselling services.
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