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Refugees to Arrive in Williams Lake

Refugees will soon be calling Williams Lake their home.

Sharon Taylor, a settlement practitioner with the Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society (IMSS), says they are hoping to have a family of four within the Lake City as early as March.

“Every time I talk about this though, I have to caution people that things are changing so quickly that every piece of information I have today could be different by tomorrow,” she says.

“Literally, I had written up a piece of information to give City and Council yesterday and by 1:30 in the afternoon I had to change it because new information had come through.”

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On Tuesday evening, Taylor, along with Margaret Anne Enders and Marilyn Livingston from the Canadian Mental Health Association multiculturalism program gave Mayor Walt Cobb and City Council the latest details on their efforts of sponsoring refugees to the area and says they had some very good questions.

“Questions that many Canadians are asking around security, who may be coming, and what kind of services we have to provide to that family…I know there’s been some concern that there could be lots of people coming and it may overwhelm services, but really we’re looking at most our organization, our small group, would be able to bring in four to six people almost certainly within one family and there may be one other group in town that may be sponsoring a family..so we’re looking at a handful, maybe eight to twelve within a year.”

Taylor says there are several myths continuing to surround the issue of refugees with the most common is that they are given more by the government than senior citizens themselves.

“It was never true, has never been true, and will never be true,” she says.

“It’s interesting because people keep telling me that they’ve heard people say that but not one person has come to me and said that. I haven’t had a phone call. I run five different Facebook pages for five different organizations-three of which have been talking about the refugee situation; not one comment on a Facebook page making any of those statements around how people coming here are being advantaged or might present a danger to us.”

Taylor says there are 50 community members who are involved in the Williams Lake Refugees Sponsorship Group that has collected over $25,000 in donations to bring in a refugee or a refugee family.

She says those interested in financially donating to the cause can visit the Williams Lake Refugee Sponsorship Group FB Page.

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