Nova Scotia

Katimavik members react to being cut from budget

Those involved with the national youth-volunteer group Katimavik are coming to grips with news the federal government is cutting its funding.

Those involved with the national youth-volunteer group Katimavik are coming to grips with news the federal government is cutting its funding.

"Well we got the devastating news on Thursday when the budget came down informing us the program was eliminated all together," said Daniel Lapointe, CEO of Katimavik.

Katimavik has been in operation since 1977. Its participants, aged 17 to 21, live in groups of 10 and spend six months volunteering in communities across the country.

More than 30,000 Canadians have participated in the program.

Its Atlantic regional office was in Halifax.

"I was bracing myself for maybe a five or 10 per cent cut … but I had no heads up and on budget day I learned that we would be winding down the program," Lapointe said.

Walter Regan, the president of the Sackville Rivers Association, said his group has been affiliated with Katimavik for a decade.

"These young people really have an interest in the environment and they really want to do something good for their community and now the program has been disbanded, Regan said.

"I think this is going backwards."

Katimavik had a $15-million operating budget funded primarily by Heritage Canada.

Recently, a Canadian Heritage summative evaluation of Katimavik showed the organization maintained its targets with the department’s objectives.

"The conclusions of this assessment were that our programs were aligned with government priorities, that the program was really performing well on all the metrics, and so this sad news is quite a surprise for us," Lapointe said.

Katimavik programs already lined up for this spring will move forward, but programs that were supposed to start in July are now suspended.