The City of Miramichi has decided to pull funding for a community project that Vanessa McEvoy was leading. ‘The Breathing Bus’ was a project that McEvoy and others had supported during the Community Project Fund.
It was a community fund where members of the public were welcomed to put their ideas for community projects forward, and eligible projects got selected, where then any citizen of Miramichi could vote for what project they wanted to see completed.
The total that was put aside for projects was $50,000.
On August 24th, 2017, it was announced that ‘The Breathing Bus’ was selected as one of the winners of The Community Project Fund! The total cost of the project was $18,000.
McEvoy runs a local business The Yoga Block (CLICK HERE), and after the decision to pull funding for the project was made she took to social media to explain it’s importance to the community.
Saying: “the concept was to have a mobile meditation bus for students, teachers, workers, and the community in general to be able to take a moment away from their hectic day to focus on their mental health. The Breathing Bus would also make mindfulness, stress management and mental health resources more accessible for those in the community who cannot afford classes offered around the city, or who just want to find out more about it. Entry would be donation based, and all donations would go directly into the community for further mental and physical health development initiatives.”
McEvoy took the liberty of stating a fact: “recent community health assessment conducted by Horizon Health Network, 80% of the residents of Miramichi do not even qualify for mental health services.” She also talked about how within the Miramichi Area “suicide rates and resiliency are worse, across the board, compared to the rest of the province.”
Aware of the process of applying for the funding she says she is aware that they needed to be a registered non-profit organization.
“I met with Paul McGraw, an Economic Development Officer involved in this project, to make sure we met the criteria. Though I felt that his attitude toward our proposal was clearly unsupportive… he assured me that the proposal was fine, and gave the green light for the application. I had also been speaking with Jeff MacTavish, the Director of Economic Development & Tourism, and made sure that he also knew of the circumstance and gave me the go-ahead as well.”
After that, the community voted and their project won the support. McEvoy said, “we were made to assume that the formalities were over — and that we could start the project moving forward.”
Then she received an open letter which stated that because they were not a registered not-for-profit at the time of application the city would not be handing over the funding for the project. She said, “council had, after the fact, decided to disqualify our organization and rescind the award.”
McEvoy then requested a meeting with city council, as she had thought there may have been a form of miscommunication. However, she was denied a meeting. She said, “we do not think that the council and the decision makers were aware of the reflection that this creates for them, and we are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that there was a misunderstanding.”
She ended it all by stating:
“In closing, if you would like to include your voice with ours in petition to the council to overturn the decision to disqualify The Breathing Bus, please feel free to write to council. Every voice makes a difference. Even if we just help them to understand the mistake they’ve made. Include how meditation, mindfulness, or yoga has affected your life, and express how an organization like this one would benefit you or the community in general. You can write to email@example.com and request that your letter be sent to council, and/or firstname.lastname@example.org to have it forwarded. We will have a computer available at the front desk of The Yoga Block for anyone who needs access to write a letter. Please LIKE, SHARE and comment any POSITIVE VIBES ❤️
Vanessa McEvoy, Director, The Breathing Bus”
To read her full statement on the decision, please CLICK HERE