Your Voice in Victoria

The need for services

Shirley Bond
The need for services

There has been a great deal of discussion about the pending changes to Work BC services in Valemount and the Robson Valley.

As a result of a recently concluded procurement process, significant changes will take place that will likely result in a loss of jobs at the Valemount Learning Society.

At the heart of this issue is the question of how services should be provided in small, rural communities in our region and beyond.

I have always believed that it isn’t the size of the community that matters - the needs that exist in larger centers exist in small communities too. I am pretty confident that most of us recognize that some attention needs to be paid to economies of scale when providing support services, but that does not diminish the need for the provision of some degree of service.

Ideally, having local providers that understand the nature of their community and are familiar with the residents is the optimal way to provide support.

I want to reassure my constituents that as your MLA I have raised concerns directly with the Minister, his staff and the government about any loss of Work BC services in the Robson Valley.

Before, during and after the procurement process, through letters and in-person meetings, I have made the case that maintaining funding levels and on the ground support is essential.

During multiple discussions I have been assured that there will be service, that funding will be maintained and that my constituents will be given the support they deserve.

As I write this column no formal announcements have been made that demonstrate that our concerns were heard. I was recently advised that the announcements are imminent.

In the event that Work BC employment services are retained in the community it will be important to ensure that the funding provided is adequate to do the work necessary and that the model allows for local service delivery that is effective.

I too am concerned about a potential shift to a more centralized, regional approach and I will continue to advocate for the services that my constituents and our rural communities deserve.