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EDITOR: Seventy Mile Access Centre’s future in limbo following flooding

An open letter from the Seventy Mile Access Centre
The Seventy Mile Access Centre’s Food Pantry was flooded two weeks ago following December’s deep freeze. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Open letter to SD 27 Board of Trustees,

For 22 years the Seventy Mile Access Centre (SMAC) has kept the doors of the 70 Mile Elementary School building open. The Non-Profit Society was created in 2001 to provide community services out of our closed School Building. SMAC has gone through many changes, many volunteers, and many programs.

Currently, it is the biggest Re-Use Store in the South Cariboo. Tons of furniture, household goods and clothing have been kept from landfills by being dropped off at SMAC’s back door and sorted through by volunteers. Some stuff is sold at our Thrift Store, some is sent on to Big Brothers of Canada and some is sorted for recycling at our local TNRD Transfer Station.

SMAC has maintained the building in as good condition as possible spending $18,000.00 in repairs and maintenance in 2022 alone. The cold snap in December 2022 caused pipes to freeze, break and flood the oldest part of the building.

The “Band-Aid” to repair the damage is estimated at $15,000. The Non-Profit Society is reluctant to pour more money into a building that they don’t own and fear that the building will rapidly go downhill without some real attention to the roof and insulation.

Our service to the immediate community and surrounding area is apparent from the support we have received in response to our temporary closure. SMAC is used by people for miles around.

If we were able to acquire the building and land we would continue the service as a Re-Store/Thrift Store, lending library, local food pantry and meeting place as well as begin the process of working with Local First Nations to build a Senior’s Independent Living Complex for seniors who have no desire to move into a city.

We are 25 minutes from 100 Mile Hospital so still within a feasible area for services. With an added Day Care and Strong Start we could match up youngsters with elders to bring pleasure and learning to both groups.

We hope that you can discuss the future of this building and come to a decision soon so that we can see our future more clearly.

Thank you for your attention to this issue that is so important to our communities.

Sally Watson

Representing the Seventy Mile Access Centre Working Group

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