'ATLAS provided vital services that won't be replaced.' - BCGEU president Darryl Walker.
Vancouver (30 Oct. 2009) - The closure of ATLAS, the only residential drug and alcohol treatment facility for young people in B.C.'s Northwest, is misguided and a serious setback in dealing with widespread addiction problems in the region, says the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE).
"This is a misguided move by the provincial government and the Northern Health Authority because ATLAS provided vital services that won't be replaced," says BCGEU president Darryl Walker, whose union represents staff at the centre.
"Forcing people to travel to Prince George for treatment is a disincentive for them to get the help they desperately need."
While Walker says his union has worked with Terrace and District Community Services Society to minimize impacts on affected ATLAS workers, BCGEU remains deeply concerned about the loss of vital health care services and the social and economic impact on the community.
Walker has arranged meetings with ATLAS workers as part of a two-day tour of Terrace and Kitimat that includes workplace visits, several union events and discussions with community leaders.
BCGEU represents more than 2,300 public and private sector workers in the Northwest, including 700 in Terrace and Kitimat. Union members work in the direct provincial public service, health care, community social services, Northwest Community College, legal aid, highways maintenance and for the Nisga'a, Haisla and Haida First Nations.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE