The line has been drawn in the sand by the Battlefords and Area Sexual Assault Centre (BASAC).
The Ministry of Justice has until October 31 to come up with a plan that includes funding for the programs the organization provides or services to areas such as Meadow Lake, Ile-`a-la Crosse and La Loche will be terminated.
“We have met with some representatives with the justice department and the tone of the conversation was good,” said Amber Stewart, executive director of BASAC. “We’ve always had a good relationship with the ministry and certainly want to keep it that way but we do have certain items that have to be addressed.”
As is the case with other agencies in Saskatchewan, the Battlefords and Area Sexual Assault Centre provides services that deal with the effects and the risks of sexual abuse and violence by assisting with counselling, crisis support, education and advocacy services to individuals and communities.
“We decided to extend the deadline because neither justice nor BASAC wanted to leave an area unserved,” she added. “So we are now working together to sort out how they can support us, so we can support the region.”
One of the areas being examined is the size of the region that the agency covers and according to Stewart everything right now is on the table for discussion.
“We believe some changes need to be made because Meadow Lake and up North is such a big region to cover,” she said. “Maybe we have to have another office up north to service the people who need it most.”
At issue is the fact that the agency has not had a funding increase in six years and with funding allotted in three year increments, BASAC faces another three years of the status quo.
Stewart said while the past few months have been stressful, she is encouraged that both sides are working on the plan that will better serve the region.
“It’s been stressful for us to continue these services as we have been,” she added. “And we know it’s stressful for those we have been working with to come to a resolution that everyone can live with.”
Stewart added that discussions are continuing throughout the next few months and said she is hopeful that a positive outcome will come as a result.
On Twitter: @battlefordsNOW
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