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REPORTING · 23rd December 2011
Walter McFarlane
Margaret Warcup, Trish Parsons and Cheryl Rumley presented at Council on Monday, December 19th. The presentation encompassed several related committees and organizations which the three women work on. They had a request for support from Council.

The first related to the Grant Writer and Warcup asked Council to apply, once again, for the funding from the Northern Development Initiative Trust. “Last year was a very successful year with our grant writer,” said Warcup.

They received $10,000 from Northern Development Initiative Trust and $2,500 thousand from the District of Kitimat. They applied for over $363,000 in project costs and $262,000 in grants.

Warcup explained the grants are beginning to come in and Kitimat Arts for Youth just received a grant for new musical instruments.

Kitimat’s interagency Committee has been meeting regarding social health and educational action and items. A report was issued in 2007 after a meeting with Dr. Greg Halseth. A second meeting was held recently and a report will be issued in the future.

“From that dialogue was a very strong message that we need to keep the interagency committee going in Kitimat and that it’s been very valuable to have this service. The CDC, the Child Development Centre where I work and many of the other social services agencies in town and the Chamber have all been doing this off the sides of our desks, it has not been a fun position and we give great Kudos and thanks to Lori Ferreira who keeps us going,” said Warcup.

She asked Council to consider the social impact report and fund the interagency committee $20,000 for the 2012-2013 year to keep Ferreira’s position going. She said there were items Council needed to see from the impact report to keep these things going in the community and there may be other requests to maintain the community as a healthy, welcoming community.

Warcup’s next topic concerned the community Foundation. She told Council how they have started to set up the policies and procedures of the Community Foundations. They are fundraising using the Telethon as their key fundraising tool.

She explained the board of directors have to be aware of the needs in the community and direct the community foundation funds to meet the needs within the community. She expressed this would mean the Interagency Committee and the Community Foundation would be working hand in hand, knowing what services needed support and how they would be supporting those services.

She asked for municipal support of the foundation.

The housing needs study came next.

“In Kitimat, in the last year, under the nudging or urging of our mayor, a housing needs committee has been established and we’ve been working to have a housing grant to do a needs study in our community. This is a $10,000 grant that we need. We have done the RFP, we have hired the housing consultants and their terra Housing and they are starting to do the needs study within our community,” said Warcup.

She explained this started with a study from the Tamitik Status of Women which coincided with a study which was done by the Child Development Centre which showed that Kitimat does not have the resources to help people with developmental disabilities who want to start living on their own. They have had to move to Terrace and they want to see them stay in their home community.

They need to complete the needs study first. She asked Council to make the housing committee a Council Committee.

She passed the presentation on to Rumley, representing Tamitik Status of Women. Rumley talked about Housing. “Tonight I’m here to support the interagency initiative to really continue our sustained strategic collaborative plan while we work together in this transitional time.

She talked about what other communities in Terrace, Ferny and Smithers have done to provide shelters. She wished to share with Council, what it was like to live in Kitimat on social assistance and find affordable housing.

She provided Council with public information regarding income assistance and encouraged them to look up the information on the ministry website.

In terms of welfare, there has not been much of an increase into income assistance rates. BC is on record for having the worst rates of child poverty for the last 8 years. She put this into perspective.

Rumley looked into a pair of bachelor pads, both are set at $575 a month. A person on income assistance would receive $375 for their shelter and $235 for food, heat, transit, phone and everything else. $610 total. They would have roughly a dollar a day for food and necessities.

A sole parent would receive $570 for shelter and $375 for food. They would be able to find a two bedroom unit for $600. They would have $345 for themselves and their child to provide on a monthly basis or $11 a day.

She explained they had problems in the 80s where there were a lot of apartment buildings built for a boom, which were shortly afterwards left with high vacancy rates. She suggested working together to be strategic and getting all the facts.

Councillor Phil Germuth wanted to know if there was any Haisla representation in all of this. Warcup said they invited the Haisla and had a representative at the last meeting.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff wanted to know if the funding for the Grant Writer was year to year or was it one time funding. Warcup said it would come out in January, but she wanted Council to be ready for when it comes out.

Councillor Rob Goffinet made sure the 20,000 included the part time coordinator. It did.

Later in Council, the Council decided to push the Kitimat Community Foundation to budget, the Grant Writer was referred to staff to return in the spring of 2012, the Interagency Committee was pushed to budget and housing was received for information.

The request for The Housing Needs Committee to become a Council Committee was met with some Concern. Feldhoff referred it to the staff as a report to look for options. He expressed concern about the degree in which the District and Council support this as he did not want to be stretched thin. The motion was carried.