Friday, December 24, 2010

A government news release three days before Christmas is always cause for greater scrutiny, because those guys know full well the media are off their game (as are readers and viewers) in the runup to the holiday. So when you see a Dec. 22 release about the province buying former Liberal MLA Lorne Mayencourt's therapeutic village in Prince George, it's just one of those things that make you go, "Hmm."
Not that it's necessarily a bad thing that the province is taking over the addiction treatment centre. I haven't looked into this at all, so I'm definitely not trying to say there's something wrong about the deal. But I'd suggest it's worth a deeper look just to get a better understanding of how this has come to pass, and what it means to other addiction services if money that used to go to them ends up diverted to cover costs at the Baldy Hughes Therapeutic Community. 
Interesting that it's BC Housing ponying up for the project. They've also been tapped for the $20 million in capital costs to build the Pacific Family Autism Centre in Vancouver, a project put together by Vancouver power-couple Sergio and Wendy Cocchia. About $900,000 of that is being provided to the project proponents in advance so a consultant could be hired and a series of focus groups done around the province this past fall.
Again, that's not to say having a fine new autism centre for excellence is a bad thing. But is this new money, or coming out of existing services? If the private sector doesn't come up with the $34 million in funds that the autism-centre proponents are hoping for, will taxpayers soon be on the hook again for yet another private/public dream that didn't work out as planned? And at what cost to existing services?
I'm all for government funding important community services, of course. But not at the cost of other effective, efficient community services, which the province has been putting the squeeze on for a decade now. Just seems to me we need to have a conversation in B.C. about some of this, because it all feels a bit like social-service-by-political-connection at the moment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is this new money, or coming out of existing services?

I'd bet on $$ out of existing services. Why?

Greater Victoria children's agencies hit by contract bidding war

That's the way this BC Liberal government works: underfund, cut, and blame those who won't be voting for them.