Pembina Valley – Regional Connections Views Growth as Unique, Positive Challenge
June 20, 2019
Regional Connections experienced 18 percent growth last year, serving over 700 more clients across their three offices in Winkler, Morden and Altona.
Executive Director Steve Reynolds says their greatest challenge is keeping up with the region’s rapid growth and increased immigration.
Although learning to adapt to the growth can be a challenge, Reynolds says it’s a positive challenge and is being viewed as that from outside our region as well.
“In my new role as executive director here, I’m working to have more contacts and a broader network with other communities around the province. One thing I was surprised to hear, was recognition of what’s happening in Winkler and what’s happening in the Pembina Valley, all around the province I’m hearing other communities would love to see this kind of growth.”
A 1,600 square foot expansion at its Winkler office was also announced on Thursday at the AGM. Reynolds says the additional square footage will be on the west side of the building, which will include some offices for some more staff, as well as dedicated child care space.
“Right now child care has been using a classroom and a meeting room, but the limited space has meant we couldn’t provide infant care, so from 0-18 months, people could not bring their kids to child care.”
Reynolds says for someone with a newborn in ESL or literacy classes, that would mean they would have to leave class for at least 18 months. “That’s a huge interruption to learning,” he says, adding they hope to have the space ready for use this coming fall.
Regional Connections also now has a full 9 member board. The immigrant service’s by-laws allow them to have up to 9 members on their board, and at Thursday’s meeting, Deepak Saini was welcomed to serve as a member.
Board Chair Loren Braul says Saini, will bring an excellent combination of professional skills as a CPA, and as a recent immigrant can speak from his own experience, and he is also in the private sector, and so he can speak to what the needs of employers are.
Braul notes Regional Connections has a wide range of sectors represented on the board, including representation from both the Western and Garden Valley School Divisions, public health, municipal representatives, as well as representatives from the private sector.