LUSH Valley is requesting $30,000 from the City of Courtenay to support its Good Food Box healthy hampers and Hot Meals programs for vulnerable populations. Funds would provide 1,000 food boxes and 2,000 hot meals, mostly in Courtenay.
In 2021/22, LUSH distributed 7,968 food boxes from April 2021 to March 30, 2022, and served 16,155 hot meals. The program cost $281,000. There are 46 households on a waitlist. The goal for the 2022/23 fiscal year is to distribute 9,000 food boxes. To reach waitlisted households, the projected budget is $354,000.
Statistics indicate about 20 per cent of Comox Valley children experience poverty.
“We all know, food insecurity leads to higher rates of chronic disease, and issues with mental heath and well-being,” food access manager James McKerricher said in a May 9 presentation to Courtenay council.
LUSH would like to build a local food system to increase capacity and markets for farmers.
Sex trafficking is a booming industry, said educator/speaker Cathy Peters, who returned to council a year later to discuss her Be Amazing Campaign, which takes a hard look at the issue.
She asked council to write to federal Justice Minister David Lametti. The letter would contain a number of requests, such as enforcing the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (Bill C-36).
“The sex industry is anxious to repeal this law in order to normalize, legitimize and commercialize this industry in Canada,” said Peters, who has not found evidence that suggests women would be safer in prostitution if the industry is regulated.
Commonly, a child enters sex trafficking at 13. Yearly, a trafficker can make $280,000 per victim. Peters said the industry poses a growing problem in schools, in terms of recruiting.
“School liaison officers are really important,” she said.
“We need the enforcement of the law, and we need a provincial awareness education program in B.C. We are literally decades behind every province in Canada in addressing this crime.”
The National Human Trafficking Hotline Number is 1-833-900-1010.
The CVRD directed the city to take over administration of the Strengthening Communities’ Services Grant of $1.093 million that was awarded to the district last year. Some of the money ($91,028) was provided to the Comox Valley Transition Society to expand services at the Connect warming centre from September 2021 to January 2022.
The city is seeking an amendment to the grant term to extend the funding period from July 1, 2022 to July 31, 2023.
Programs to be funded in 2022-2023 include a daytime community access hub to provide services such as a shower program, and rural outreach on Denman and Hornby islands.
•Council approved third reading of a remuneration bylaw to bump the mayor’s yearly pay to $83,000, as of Jan. 1, 2023. Councillors’ pay will increase to $33,200.
•Council adopted the 2022 tax rate bylaw. The increase for an average residential property is $85.53 or six per cent for the municipal portion of the tax notice.