It was a huge win for the City of Moose Jaw when the Government of Saskatchewan announced last week that a new closure date has been set for Valley View Centre (VVC).
A push from the community led to a push back from the government, resulting in a new closure date of March 31, 2018.
Ever since it was announced in 2012 that Valley View Centre will be shutting its doors for good, the community started to advocate for the residents.
They demanded positive transitions for all 184 remaining residents. The number one priority was to ensure individuals get equal or better care than they currently get at VVC once they transition out.
Ensuring not one resident gets forgotten or lost in the system has been a long process for everyone involved. But during this process, one thing became very clear: that this community cares.
Typically when a centre like VVC shuts down, the government does it within a year, but this option was unacceptable to the people of Moose Jaw.
The new closure date is a great indication of the power of this community and that’s something to be proud of.
Family members, staff, social workers and other community advocates made it their number-one priority to ensure the residents are the government’s first priority, not the closure date.
After all, family members would have never allowed their loved ones to be in VVC if they didn’t believe in the centre and the loving care provided. Now that the centre is closing, everyone is rooting for a positive transition, even the government.
We are all bonded through this city and in a weird way that makes us a family.
Even the annoying neighbour who refuses to cut his lawn is family because even he wants to see this community and its residents succeed.
The new closure date proved that Moose Javians are willing to fight for each other and to ensure everyone’s quality of life is accounted for.
And while this is a win for the advocates, the pushback date is also a win for our economy. According to the Government of Saskatchewan, the forecasted 2014-2015 operating cost for VVC is between $28 and $29 million.
That’s a huge chunk of money that will be going toward our businesses, recreation, taxes and other services. Yes, that number will decrease as the facility downsizes over time, but it’s still two extra years of income for the community that wasn’t previously forecasted.
Sometimes people are quick to be untrusting of the government, but we often forget that they’re here to serve the people, and Moose Javians didn’t allow the province to forget that.
It’s a powerful thing to be able to change the mind of any government anywhere, but the 2018 date proves they’re willing to listen if we’re willing to engage.
Mickey Djuric can be reached at 306-691-1263 or @Mickey_MJTimes