By Greg Bennett
Plans to have a national youth volunteer program come to Shelburne this summer have been torpedoed by the federal budget.
A Katimavik project was set to begin in July in Shelburne, until the program’s demise was announced in the spring federal budget.
The news was a surprise to Katimavik organizers who were in Nova Scotia actively making arrangements when the axe fell.
“This came as a complete surprise to us and ended our successful trip to Nova Scotia in a bizarre way,” wrote Isabel Chaumont, Katimavik Communications Manager. “We were sincerely looking forward to seeing volunteers in your region, especially after we had seen all the great opportunities that were available for our youths and the impact we would have had on your community.”
Katimavik had been working directly with the Town of Shelburne, which held an information session to meet with representatives at the end of March.
“We hope that you understand that if we had any doubt that this would happen, we would not have come to your community for the Katimavik information session and we apologize for this,” wrote Chaumont.
Jerry Locke, of the Town’s community and economic development department, expressed his disappointment that the year-long project would not be going ahead.
It’s been 10 years since the program has been held in Shelburne and we were looking forward to it coming back,” said Locke. “I think we could done some great things.”
Katimavik participants, young Canadians from 17 to 21 from other parts of the country, would have worked a minimum 35 hours a week as volunteers in different organizations in the community.
Locke says efforts to lobby the federal government to save the program are in full swing and he noted that if successful, Katimavik organizers would consider revisiting a project in Shelburne.
“Shelburne will be kept in our database in case Katimavik should continue in the future. We never know what can happen with Katimavik, and as your community is full of potential, you will be amongst the firsts contacted should we develop a new project in Nova Scotia,” wrote Chaumont.