West Kelowna doesn't CATCH request

West Kelowna council declined an invitation to become the financial host for the Community Action Toward Children's Health (CATCH) organization on Tuesday.

On Dec. 20, 2011, Mayor Doug Findlater and Coun. Duane Ophus met with Kent Stralbiski, integration team chair of CATCH, and Myrna Kalmakoff, community coordinator of CATCH.

During that meeting, CATCH representatives outlined the purpose of the organization, its mandate, organizational structure, processes and activities.

They then communicated the need for CATCH to establish a host agency relationship.

Since CATCH's inception in 1999, the Interior Health Authority (IHA) has been its host agency; however, IHA can no longer act in that capacity after Mar. 31, 2011.

CATCH was requesting that the DWK consider entering into a partnering relationship to provide financial administration, accounting and reporting services to CATCH.

The majority of council agreed with staff's recommendation to decline the invitation. Coun. Carol Zanon noted that CATCH was requesting a host agency that had flexibility to help it with a list of its requirements.

"As a municipality, we certainly don't have the flexibility that they say we must have," said Zanon.

"I wish them the best of luck, but I just don't think we are the right group to help them achieve their goals,."

Coun. Duane Ophus disagreed with the rest of council.

"This is an organization that provides a significant value, a significant service within the overall Central Okanagan community. I think that West Kelowna now, after four years, has the capacity (and) time to start taking on the social services side of things," said Ophus.

"I think this is something we should be giving a lot more consideration to."

Mayor Doug Findlater said he was fond of CATCH; however, he wasn't so fond of the district becoming its host agency.

"It's a wonderful organization . . . what they're suggesting that we do in terms of becoming a child friendly community and parent friendly community in all aspects is right on target," said Findlater.

"We continue to philosophically support (CATCH) and ask our staff to try and implement (its) recommendations into our community planning process."

CATCH has also approached several other potential partners and council was informed that several organizations have responded positively to CATCH's invitation.

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