COLD LAKE - The City of Cold Lake will continue to roll out the Meals on Wheels program, at least for now.
In May, the municipality was approached by the Cold Lake Age Friendly Society about taking over the initiative, but after talking it over, council has decided to keep offering it through the Cold Lake and District FCSS, at least for the time being.
After the Cold Lake Seniors' Society lost some of its key members running the Meals on Wheels program, the City of Cold Lake stepped in and took it over under the umbrella of the local FCSS. Now, the Cold Lake Age Friendly Society has offered to take it under their wing.
“The Meals on Wheels program seems to get bumped around a little bit, and we do have concerns with that,” CAO Kevin Nagoya stressed during council's May 25 meeting.
Although the group has a lot of passion and energy, Nagoya noted, city administration is apprehensive about handing over the program.
“We wonder if the organization should run a little longer prior to transferring the program over,” he added.
Mayor Craig Copeland suggested keeping it for now with the intention of passing it on in the future.
"I like the idea of waiting another year or so to see how all of this is going to work. It has bounced around, it's gone to a number of different places," expressed Coun. Vicky Lefebvre.
Coun. Bob Buckle agreed, "I don't mind if we keep the status quo. I like the idea of transferring it or shifting it over to Age Friendly. I think anytime you can get community groups involved outside of the city to look after programs such as Meals on Wheels, I think it's a proper thing to do."
"I don't mind we ensure doing our due diligence, I just think there should be a plan put in place to transfer this at some point in time," he continued. "I just don't want to see us a year from now going 'well let's keep it another year.' I would like to see this function move on to a community group."
Part of Age Friendly's plans for the program is to offer subsidized meals for eligible clients. During their presentation to council, they had requested financial support of roughly $11,400 for the subsidy and an additional $89,740 to cover operational costs.
With this funding request in mind, council decided to defer the topic to next year's budget deliberations, which is also when they will reconsider transferring the program.