Hold up on money for youth diversion

Pitt Meadows delays on request for support.

Funding to help keep youth out of the criminal justice system is still waiting approval from Pitt Meadows council.

The Ridge Meadows Youth Diversion program has been answering funding questions from council, and program coordinator Ranjit Kingra admits “we do have concern.”

She has already received a commitment of $20,000 per year for three years from Maple Ridge, approved during the summer. But four months after her request, she is still waiting on approval of $6,500 per year, for three years, from Pitt Meadows.

Kingra said the last correspondence from Pitt Meadows asked whether her group, formed in 1994, has tried to access funds from the Justice Ministry, or through the Civil Forfeiture program.

Kingra has informed Pitt Meadows that her group has a $2,500 grant through the Minister of Justice, and does apply for grants through civil forfeiture. She said the diversion program will continue to apply for such grants, but most are one-time offerings.

“Sustainable funding is an area in which we continue to struggle,” she wrote to council.

Pitt Meadows was the first city to get involved with the diversion program, which takes youth from the court system and assists them through restitution and mentoring.

Kingra said the program has value and would hate to see the city stop participating.

In its 21 years, the organization has diverted 2,200 youth in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows from the courts.

“It would be a shame for them to lose that service in Pitt Meadows,” said Kingra.

Ridge Meadows Youth Diversion is about to be taken under the umbrella of Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Community Services, but secure funding is an issue.

“That would mean stability for the program and lots of other resources to access,” Kingra said of the move.

Pitt Meadows Coun. Bill Dingwall, a retired RCMP officers, has spoken in favour of funding youth diversion, but the matter was deferred to council’s budget discussions.

He called the money “peanuts” to a $23 million budget.

“They do great work. They’ve helped a lot of people – not only young offenders, but the victims, as well. They’re doing a ton of really good work, for a small investment.”

He said a letter from Kingra was coming before council Tuesday, and his intention was to push for approval of the funding as soon as possible.

Mayor John Becker asserts the provincial government, not city halls, should be paying for the service.

“The funding model is completely inadequate,” said Becker.

He doesn’t question the value of youth diversion.

“From all sorts of analysis, it’s a cost benefit.”

However, Becker, a lawyer, asks why local government is being asked to pay for what he calls a probation service.

He thinks it should be a provincial responsibility, and called the current funding model “classic downloading.”

Still, he expects council will ultimately approve the funds, for three years.

“I’ve always been uncomfortable with the funding model, but it’s not a lot of money. It does a lot of good, and it’s part of the fabric of the community,” said Becker.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Something needs to be done’, collision kills cyclist in Pitt Meadows Tuesday night

39-year-old man from Maple Ridge was pronounced dead at the scene

Dirty toilets greet visitors to Whonnock Lake during BC Day long weekend

Three out of four portable toilets ‘unusable’

Less traffic heading to Golden Ears park

Number of vehicles accessing the Maple Ridge park down during the long weekend

Drive-thru food truck fest comes to Maple Ridge

Cotton candy, tacos, fried chicken, and more at Albion Fairgrounds, Aug 8-9

Airlines dispute Dr. Henry’s claim they ‘very rarely’ give accurate COVID contact tracing info

Air Canada, WestJet say they provide names and contact information

B.C. Appeal Court prevents Victoria woman from using the term ‘death midwife’ in her job

Pashta MaryMoon claimed she had been providing “death-care services” for more than 40 year

‘We all have anxieties’: B.C.’s top doctor addresses return-to-school fears amid COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry promises school restart plan safe for B.C. kids

Abbotsford mom worried about her two kids in Beirut following explosion

Shelley Beyak’s children were abducted by their dad in 2018

Young Canadians, hospitality workers bear the brunt of mental strain in 2020: report

A study by Morneau Shepell points to economic uncertainty in the pandemic as the cause for angst

Former high-stakes poker player from Mission missing in Nevada

Brad Booth last seen on July 13, told roommate he was going camping

Health Canada recalling more than 50 hand sanitizers in evolving list

Organization says to stop using products listed, and to consult a health-care professional

Airborne hot dog strikes Greater Victoria pedestrian

Police called to 4200-block of Quadra Street for hot dog incident

Mission’s 7-Eleven defaced with racist graffiti

Racist insults attacking Indo-Canadians ‘shocked’ manager

Most Read