Westside communities see advantages in breaking from Kelowna on court diversion proposal

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WEST KELOWNA - West Kelowna City council will be asked on Tuesday, Jan. 8 to join with Peachland and Westbank First Nations in applying for a $50,000 provincial grant to create a HUB program there, rather than join with Kelowna.

HUB is the commonly-used term for Situation Tables where the RCMP meets with relevant social agencies to divert people from the criminal courts and into treatment or get them other supports they  need.

The City of Kelowna had asked the Westside jurisdictions to join in a regional HUB model but the recommendation to West Kelowna council is to form a separate table, in part to get more timely service but, also, because there is concern that the indigenous community will not have a strong voice at the larger Kelowna table.

“If a HUB were to form on the Westside, not only would cultural awareness and focused assistance to the Aboriginal clients be increased, but the need for providing social services and Interior Health Services to the nearly 50,000 residents living in Westbank First Nations, City of West Kelowna and Peachland would be demonstrated and supported with real data,” states a report to West Kelowna council from Nancy Henderson, General Manager of Development Services.

“As recognized in the 2018 Social Issues Research Paper, the Westside communities are virtually unrepresented, and those in need are forced to travel to Kelowna to get assistance, which can be a very difficult hurdle for many clients,” Henderson’s report continues.

Later in the agenda, there is a recommendation from Bob Kusch, West Kelowna’s Parks, Recreation and Culture Manager, to join with all Central Okanagan municipalities and, possibly, Westbank First Nations, in applying for a $100,000 grant to document child care needs.

That grant application, if supported, is from the provincial government’s Community Child Care Planning program and is designed to determine child care needs and develop new child care spaces.


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