The local Canadian Cancer Society office is closing next month, but the regional director says they will offer all the same services.
"This was a difficult decision that was based on unpredictable economic times and the need for our charity to live within its means," said Kathy Ilott, Vancouver Island Regional Director with the Canadian Cancer Society.
The volunteer run offices in Qualicum Beach and Ladysmith will close at the end of March, but the society's cancer prevention initiatives and support programs will still be available through their Nanaimo office.
"We're not closing down activity in the community, just the office," she said, assuring ongoing programs and support groups didn't take place at the office and will continue at locations throughout the community.
Things like the cancer information service, Daffodil Month campaign, Camp Goodtimes, the Vancouver Island Lodge, volunteer driver program and Tour de Rock Cops for Cancer will not be affected.
"We have made these changes to reduce administrative costs and maximize our ability to continue to provide leading cancer prevention initiatives, trusted information and compassionate support programs to Vancouver Islanders," she said.
She stressed that it was a very difficult decision made at the provincial level during budget deliberations in light of tough times over the last three to five years.
"It's our responsibility to use those donor dollars prudently, which is why we made the decision to centralize these operations, reducing administrative costs."
Ilott said they told the local volunteers at a poorly-attended meeting Monday night before they released the news to the public. Volunteers at the Qualicum Beach office said there was a gag order and referred questions to the regional or head office. There is also another internal meeting on Thursday.
The society invites local volunteers to continue working with them, but Ilott said they have not given any consideration to helping with transportation because "Nanaimo is in such close proximity."
The Oceanside Volunteer Association, which shares the Qualicum Beach office space, said unofficially it looks like they will have to find a new space. Watch The NEWS for further details.
People looking for more information or wanting to access cancer society services can call 1-888-939-3333.