Penticton’s Mayor Julius Bloomfield has joined the voices calling out the loss of Pathways Addictions Resource Centre.
In a statement published on July 13, Mayor Julius Bloomfield expressed his concerns for the loss of services from the closure of the centre as the city waits for the provincial government on other called for programs like the Car 40 Program and integrated crisis teams.
“Council has been forceful in the need for more services, not a reduction, to aid those struggling with addiction issues,” reads a part of the mayor’s statement. “The loss of Pathways will now further increase the impact on already stretched service providers.”
Pathways’ board chair was the first to express concern about the impact the centre’s closure would have on services when they announced the centre would shutdown due to a lack of stable funding.
The announcement also encouraged people to reach out to Interior Health for help, or to other community organizations such as SOWINS, Discovery House and OneSky Community Resources.
Since the announcement from Pathways, Interior Health has promised that it is ready to take on Pathways clients and help them transition over to Interior Health.
Bloomfield’s statement pointed to how the city has been lobbying for years for a Car 40 program and for full wraparound services for vulnerable members of the community. Interior Health has still not brought any of these programs to Penticton.
“The loss of service is concerning. We currently await a decision from the provincial government on an integrated crisis team in Penticton, we await their decision on a PACT team in Penticton and now we await their announcement of service replacement and expansion following the closure of Pathways.”
“The Community Safety Review highlighted the need for more resources and made clear the impact on police services that comes from not having enough services,” reads Bloomfield’s statement. “Council will continue to push the province to provide the level of mental health services needed in Penticton.”
The report reveals that more than 50 per cent of calls to the Penticton Fire Department are medical-related and that RCMP officers have responded to a 56 per cent increase in mental health calls.
A few months ago Bloomfield went to Victoria to plead with the Premier and minister ofmental health and addictions for more support.
Thursday’s statement also said that the city is ready to be at the planning table with Interior Health on a permanent replacement for Pathways.
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