Dianne St. Jean
Robson Valley Community Services expands offices in Valemount

As of April 1, Robson Valley Community Services (RVCS) will be adding to their offices in Valemount.

Their current ground-floor space at Gorse Street will be expanded to include offices on the second floor. 

RVCS successfully acquired contracts for services they applied for, one which was a proposal to provide Early Year Services to the Robson Valley through which they plan to host a dedicated family drop-in with a focus on kids aged 0-6.

RVCS currently employs 20 people, half of which are in Valemount.

After April 1 that will be increased to 25, with 14 of those being in Valemount.

Their hours of operation will also be expanding from Monday to Thursdays to also include Fridays.

Most of the services RVCS currently offers are mirrored programs in both McBride and Valemount, the only thing different are the preschool services and literacy programs in McBride. They currently run over 17 programs.

RVCS had requested additional space back in November last year.

“This was a matter of trying to prevent more than three people to an office,” says Lina Thompson, RVCS Executive Director.

“When I heard first come, first served I knew that we would be able to provide evidence that we had communicated our agency growth potential and requested the need for additional space in November last year.”

Valemount Learning Centre (VLC) was not successful in obtaining their regular contracts, which for them meant having to downsize their office space.

“We offered to reduce our space request to ensure that VLC would have room to meet their agency’s needs as well,” says Thompson. “We decided that there was a better way, to be collaborative and ensure there was space for everyone.”

Thompson added that they are very grateful for the support from the Village of Valemount, namely EDO Silvio Gislimberti, and the new CAO Wayne Robinson for his commitment in ensuring growth and seeing the importance of the work all the agencies are doing.

Despite the support from the Village, community members and other service providers, Thompson says that she’s received negative feedback from a few on private social media that would be considered bullying and harassment, presumably because they view this as some kind of takeover.

However, she wants to stress her desire to work together and collaborate.

“It was clear to me as a newcomer that a lot of organizations doing valuable work here are so busy they don’t get a chance to get together and collaborate. I would be willing to host a networking meeting with non-profits and charities to talk about things,” she says.

Recently Thompson has been nominated for the Columbia Basin Trust Social Advisory Committee, and that is one reason why she wants to start this group.

“When I do offer any advice to CBT I am doing it from a place of collaboration, not agency needs.

“It’s about community growth and support. Lives are complex. For example, when someone’s looking for employment they may also have childcare or housing needs. Our services are growing and it is our intention and mandate to provide a continuum of 0-99 community care.”