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“Initially we spent our time and our efforts in building a relationship where we could come to the same table and have, say, joint council meetings or elders gatherings together,” said Pilon.
FitzZaland agrees this relationship is very important.
“I think the level of co-operation, the amount of shared vision is pretty unique and holds a lot of promise for them,” said FitzZaland.
“…Clearly they’re not just standing on the side asking for someone to fix their problems, but they’re rolling up their sleeves to do the right thing for their community, so I think that they have a lot of assets of their side to make this work.”
Now, the WOC committee is ready to move forward to explore the feasibility of drug and alcohol treatment options for the region. Pilon says an actual centre may not necessarily be the solution to local drug and alcohol issues; it may simply be a matter of enhancing existing services.
“We want to explore what combination works and fits for the valley,” she said.
FitzZaland agrees, and says a big part of the ongoing study is about determining what is appropriate for their specific communities.
If Pemberton and Mount Currie decide to develop a treatment centre or program, they must present a business case to Vancouver Coastal Health if they hope to receive funding and support.
Viviana Zanocco, senior media relations officer for VCH, hadn’t heard of Winds of Change’s current study, but said VCH funds many programs and projects.
“A lot of support recovery operators, they’re out there and we fund them,” said Zanocco.
If the community decides to pursue a treatment centre or program, and they want support from VCH, Zanocco says they can submit a business case that identifies who would be helped by the service, how it will help, and what resources and partners they would work with.
NG Bach & Associates’ final report and findings will include a business case for provincial and federal funding agencies.
After they release their recommendations, Bruce says she isn’t sure what the WOCs next step will be, but is optimistic that the study will produce numbers for the committee to work with, and allow them to move forward.
“In any case, it’s a really constructive, positive process the communities are involved in.”
FitzZaland plans to present a draft report outlining their findings to the WOC committee this week, and, based on their approval, will present recommendations to the public at open houses on Oct. 17 in Pemberton and Oct. 18 in Mount Currie.