A group of around 40 people gathered outside Pathways Addictions Resource Centre Sunday, March 14, 2021 in support of the addictions service centre that is being defunded by Interior Health. (Monique Tamminga Western News)

A group of around 40 people gathered outside Pathways Addictions Resource Centre Sunday, March 14, 2021 in support of the addictions service centre that is being defunded by Interior Health. (Monique Tamminga Western News)

LETTER: Interior Health needs to reconsider Pathways decision, says Conservative candidate

Defunding Pathways without any local input was wrong, says Konanz

Editor

I am writing to add my voice to the many who are concerned about the impact the closing of Pathways will have on Penticton and the surrounding communities. Interior Health has stated the closing of Pathways and the move to “inhouse” service will be a smooth transition.

This is not the time for transitions. Our society and community are in a crisis mode. We have yet to see what the social, mental, and economic fall out of this past year will be. Many people I know, particularly the elderly, have barely left their homes in over a year.

Calls in to the suicide hotline are up in Canada by as much as 66 per cent, while overdose deaths in BC set a record with a 74 per cent increase. The Martin Street Clinic expansion, while a good addition to our city, will not replace the services Pathways has offered this community for so many years.

Pathways has helped our most vulnerable citizens, including people of every economic status, and offered support to their families. It also offers assistance through grief and loss groups, anger management counselling, and youth outreach.

Interior Health has decided to dismantle an organization that has been offering critical services to this region for years and has decided to close it without any local input. I ask Interior Health and provincial officials to please reconsider your decision to defund Pathways.

Helena Konanz

Penticton

Konanz is the federal Conservative candidate for the South Okanagan West Kootenay riding.

READ MORE: Protesters gather as Interior Health prepares to pull funding to addictions centre

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