Kelowna’s Starbright Children’s Development community has their feelings known at the B.C. Legislature, on Tuesday.
On Saturday Feb. 4, employees of Starbright and parents whose children attend the facility got together for what was a rally that turned into a short-term celebration as the facility was given a two-year contract extension late the night before. Kelowna Mayor Tom Dyas as well as MLA’s Renee Merrifield and Norm Letnick were also in attendance.
The two-year extension was agreed upon with the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) to continue to provide a place with multiple services for families for children six and under. Some of the many services Starbright provides are speech and language pathology, occupational and physical therapy, infant development, supported child development, and clinical counselling for children with complex development needs.
The extension has a third-year option as well.
Starbright has been providing care to Central Okanagan families for more than 50 years. The facility was set to lose all it funding starting in June as the provincial NDP government was set to pull funding and instead deliver it to Family Connection Centres (FCC).
After fighting for the extension, Starbright and its supporters still believe there’s still a lot of work to do to keep the facility open for a long time.
At the rally 10 days ago, the Kelowna Mission MLA addressed the crowd by saying “We are with you, we are standing here, we will fight with you. Today is a small step of victory bit the battle is not finished yet and we will keep fighting forward.”
At the event, a ‘feelings banner’ was created as people were able to write their feelings about the whole situation on the banner. On Tuesday, Feb. 14, Merrifield delivered the banner to Premier David Eby at the B.C. Legislature, in Victoria.
“Today, I have the privilege of reading their words, and also carrying that banner into this house and hand delivering it to the premier,” said Merrifield to the Legislature. “They wanted the premier to know their hearts for Starbright, and the desires to see it continue.”
She was received with a round of applause about her statement to Eby.