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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — After a season of success, city staff say at this time there is no plan to operate the Warming Centre again next year.
During her wrap-up presentation to council on April 11th, Director of Community Service Karin Carlson said the centre had done great work providing a safe, warm place for residents in need throughout the winter months.
The centre saw between 60 and 216 visits per week from clients and provided hot meals, laundry services, lockers for storage, showers, and sleeping rooms.
Despite the successes and the outpour of support from the community through donations and volunteering, Carlson said there are currently no plans in place for a Warming Centre next year due to monetary and location constraints.
Carlson stated that Northern Health plans to take over the operation eventually, but construction constraints make it unlikely they will be ready to run the centre next winter.
City council seemed extremely concerned with the idea of the Warming Centre not being able to return next winter to serve the community.
Councillor Tony Zabinsky suggested the city may have to look into supporting the Warming Centre while Northern Health made its preparations.
“It is going to be something concerning that if we have a cold winter, not a mild winter, and we don’t have something for them, I would caution that we might have to look at that,” Zabinsky said.
The Warming Centre was funded by the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) and ran in association with the City of Fort St. John from September 2022 to March 2023.
The centre currently has no location, and the funding provided by UBCM was only for the 2021 to 2022 and 2022 to 2023 winter seasons.
The full Warming Centre wrap-up presentation to council can be viewed below:
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