KAMLOOPS (July 15, 2021) – BC Liberal MLAs Todd Stone and Peter Milobar are disappointed that the NDP government has passed Kamloops over again for a much-needed Foundry Centre and expansion of the successful Car 40 program.
The Foundry program was created to provide mental health care, substance use services and family peer supports for youth aged 12-24, and the program has expanded across the province. But despite Interior Community Services’ recent solid proposal, the NDP turned down Kamloops’ request for a Foundry Centre yet again and has done so four years in a row.
“This makes Kamloops the largest city outside the Lower Mainland without a Foundry Centre,” said Stone, MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson. “Having one-stop access to integrated services can significantly reduce barriers for youth to find personalized support, particularly during a health crisis. We’ve been advocating for a Foundry Centre in Kamloops for years.”
In response to recent questions Stone asked of the Minister of Mental Health & Addictions, it was disappointing to learn that the next intake for Foundry applications will not happen until 2023. This means that should Kamloops be successful in that intake, a Foundry Centre would still be three years away from opening. “It’s unacceptable that young people aged 12 to 24 have to continue to wait for years to maybe — one day — access integrated health, mental health and wellness services in our community,” said Stone.
The NDP also continues to ignore Kamloops’ request to expand the Car 40 program, which pairs a mental health practitioner with an RCMP officer to respond to calls involving mental health situations.
“The Mayor and council have been asking for an expansion of the Car 40 program since 2017, but the only answer they have received from the Minister is, ‘it’s up to the health authority,’” said Milobar, MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson. “The NDP’s hands-off approach demonstrates their lack of leadership. The Minister must take charge and ensure sustainable funding to expand this critical program.”
It’s time for the NDP to stop excluding Kamloops from a seamless mental health and addiction system.