Response upsets village

Officials are accusing the provincial government of ignoring the social needs of Lumby.

Officials are accusing the provincial government of ignoring the social needs of Lumby.

The village has been told by the Ministry of Children and Family Development that it will provide $2,000 to the cash-strapped Whitevalley Community Resource Centre but not the $30,000 in core funding that council had sought in September.

“It’s horrible. That’s not the response we expected after meeting with the minister,” said Mayor Kevin Acton.

“Everyone knows the province has financial challenges but the operation saves them money in social services.”

The centre offers a variety of programs, including family support, adult counselling, home and school support, seniors drop-in, recreation equipment, water restoration, employment initiatives for youth, child care referrals and the Good Food Box program.

The centre’s budget for community-based activities is $750,000 to $800,000 a year, but that has been insufficient to cover costs. The non-profit agency is using reserves to absorb a $20,000 deficit.

“We need core funding so the centre is not always scrambling from grant to grant,” said Coun. Janet Green.

“They are into reserves and they can only last two more years on reserves.”

One of the concerns is centre staff may pursue other opportunities because wages are about 20 per cent lower than in neighbouring communities and the benefit plan for staff is inadequate.

Green insists the village will continue to lobby the government on behalf of the Whitevalley Community Resource Centre.

“It’s the lifeblood of the community. The centre fills gaps for a lot of people, whether children or seniors.”

The ministry states that it does not have surplus funds that can be directed towards the centre for core operations.

“I am not aware of any surplus funds or efficiencies that could be gained that would fulfill your request for $30,000,” said Kemp Redl, community services manager, in a letter to the village.

“WCRC is maximizing every possible resource available to them in your community. Last year, as a result of advocacy and engagement with the North Okanagan Child Youth and Family Committee, we were able to allocate some funds on a one-time basis in the form of rural grants.”