Quesnel City Council will spend up to 15 thousand dollars on a consultant to do a study on local mental health and addictions issues.
Northern Health and BC Housing will kick in their one-third share as well.
Mayor Bob Simpson on what they hope to accomplish…
“The intent of that is to make sure that we understand what the needs in our community are and that we actually have the most robust programs possible to meet those needs across the spectrum of needs.”
There was some concern on Council, including from Ron Paull, that this was a federal or provincial responsibility.
“I am a little worried that this action could set a precedent for Northern Health and BC Housing and others for creeping expectations for city funding of i guess work that really falls to them more than it does to us. It would be like Northern Health and BC Housing asked to fund our paving program, where does the line cross ?”
Mayor Simpson, while acknowledging the potential budget creep, noted that by getting some of the issues around mental health and addictions right, they may reduce the City`s policing costs.
One other issue was also raised on Tuesday night and that was the missing partner in all of this.
Several Councillors and the Mayor Simpson noted that mental health and addiction issues know no boundaries and also effect residents living in the Cariboo Regional District.
“In our first pass at the budget at the Cariboo Regional District, i made a pitch that they need to look at their economic development function because we all know if they don`t have a function they don`t have money, to look at that and say maybe it’s a community development function so they can use it to actually participate in some of these initiatives.”
In the end, the vote was 6-1 in favour with just Councillor Shushil Thapar opposed because of what he called the continued downloading by senior governments.