Penticton council calls on Interior Health to restore funding to Pathways Addictions Resource Centre | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton council calls on Interior Health to restore funding to Pathways Addictions Resource Centre

August 18, 2021 - 9:05 AM

It costs more money to employ two staffers at Interior Health than it did to run Pathways Addictions Resource Centre, Penticton city councillor James Miller pointed out a meeting yesterday.

Miller, who requested council’s support yesterday, Aug. 17, by penning a letter to Interior Health, wants the health authority to restore $500,000 in annual funding to Pathways. Interior Health brought the funding to an end on May 31 so it can spend the money to offer the same services internally.

The cost of employing Interior Health’s CEO Susan Brown and executive director Carl Meadows, for $347,547 and $165,968 respectively, is greater than its budget for Pathways.

In addition to modest fundraising efforts, that half-a-million dollar-budget was enough for Pathways to employ nine people and pay rent in a functional building, Miller said.

READ MORE: Interior Health begins transition of Penticton's Pathways Addiction treatment services

While addressing council last month during the regular council meeting, Meadows told council that only 10 per cent of Pathway's clients had transitioned to Interior Health's new program. When asked by Miller if he had ever visited Pathways, Meadows responded that no he had not. 

At yesterday’s meeting, council heard from Pathways executive director Daryl Meyers, who explained that invitations had been extended.

“Carl Meadows and Susan Brown have been invited numerous times by myself, the board, our staff member, and we did not get any response whatsoever,” Meyers told council.

Miller asked Meyers how much consultation happened between Pathways and Interior Heal before the funding was cut.

“There was zero done with Pathways staff or board,” she said. “We did not hear from them at all until I was called into a meeting with Carl.”

Meyers was before council requesting support for Pathways to request funding from the federal government for a detox program. Council voted unanimously to grant that letter of support.

Councillor Judy Sentes likes Meyers “due diligence” in seeking out other opportunities for Pathways after the loss of funding from the health authority.

But the meeting was overshadowed by Interior Health’s decision to cut funding to Pathways earlier this year.

After council agreed to support Meyer’s request, Miller presented a notice of motion calling on his colleagues to send a letter to Interior Health, with a copy to Health Minister Adrian Dix and local MLA Dan Ashton, to request the traditional funding of $500,000 be restored to Pathways for at least two years.

Fellow councillors went beyond supporting the idea, as Sentes requested the two-year time frame be removed altogether, and that idea was supported unanimously. 

As it became apparent that Pathways had the support of council, members of the public could be heard gasping and cheering in the gallery while the discussion progressed.

READ MORE: Penticton addiction centre launches online fundraiser to keep doors open

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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