A Kamloops councillor says senior city officials will meet with Interior Health to discuss complex care beds after a meeting where a provincial minister appeared to be misinformed about the status of the supportive housing project in the city.
At last week’s Union of BC Municipalities convention held in Whistler, Coun. Dale Bass led a meeting with Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, to discuss the province’s promise to establish complex care beds in Kamloops.
Bass said she asked Malcolmson what the status was on the 20 beds intended for the city, and Malcolmson seemed to think the beds were currently under construction — a statement which took city officials in the room by surprise, as Bass said this is not the case.
Bass said IH staff have told the City of Kamloops they are trying to work out a lease for five beds, and are hoping to get to 20 beds in the future.
“She was really being very positive and responsive, but she'd been misinformed,” Bass said about Malcolmson.
“Ken [Mayor Ken Christian] also said, ‘No, we’ve been told we might be getting five beds soon,’ and of course he then went on to say five beds isn’t enough.”
Bass said she would be joining Christian, Carmin Mazzotta, the city’s social, housing and community development manager, and Byron McCorkell, the city’s community and protective services director, for an upcoming meeting with an IH executive director to discuss complex care.
“We have a meeting coming up where apparently we're going to talk about five beds. And then she'll tell us what's going on about getting the other 15 beds,” Bass said.
“I'm kind of concerned about that, but I'm also feeling sort of optimistic, because it sounds like it might be more than one facility. And that would be a good thing. Maybe we'll have one on the south and one on the North Shore. I don’t know, but if we’re getting five now and maybe 15 later, who knows?”
In early September, the City of Kelowna, Interior Health and the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions issued a joint news release announcing multiple sites in Kelowna will house complex care beds for up to 20 people.
During their UBCM meeting, Bass said she also asked Malcolmson about the status of a second Car 40 for Kamloops.
“It was basically the same answer we got last year: ‘We know, we know you need another Car 40, lots of communities need another one of the mental health cars, yep, that’s true.’ We’re just going to have to keep pushing on it,” Bass said.
Christian is expected to provide an update on this year's UBCM convention during an upcoming council meeting.