Mary Cook

Committee looking for bus passes for Syrian refugees

As the Syrian Refugee Committee anxiously awaits the imminent arrival of Campbell River’s first Syrian refugees, the group is rushing to tie up loose ends.

While the group has secured rental properties for the families, transportation is still up in the air.

Mary Cook, on behalf of the Syrian Refugee Committee, is asking city council to consider providing free transportation for the refugees for one year.

“One of the basic requirements to ensure successful integration will be transportation,” Cook wrote. “I would respectfully request the city’s support in providing free passes to the city’s transit system for the initial year of integration.”

Cook said the committee is looking for 11 adult passes and four student passes.

Council, at its April 25 meeting, agreed to consider the request.

Coun. Larry Samson put forward a motion – that was approved by council – to have city staff report back to council on the implications and the costs of providing the passes.

Coun. Ron Kerr suggested staff also outline for council what the city’s policies are in relation to waiving transit fees.

Campbell River’s Syrian refugees have been in a state of limbo for some time.

Merell Awad, co-owner of BaBa Gannouj restaurant, along with the help of a 25-person committee of caring community members, has been desperately trying to get her family out of war-torn Syria.

Awad’s sister, her husband and their two teenaged sons, who are 13 and 16, as well as Awad’s mother, who has one leg and heart problems, have left Syria and arrived in Lebanon on Nov. 1 but are still awaiting word of when they can fly into Canada.

Rounding out the group awaiting a flight to Canada are the parents of Sam Almouallem, a young man who escaped Syria by fleeing to the United States and then crossing over the Canadian border on foot. Almouallem has since obtained refugee status and is living with Awad and her husband Fouad. The seven refugees have completed medical tests and a lengthy interview process, conducted through the Canadian embassy set up in Lebanon, and been given the go-ahead to enter Canada but they are still in limbo.

“It might happen anytime now,” Awad said in February. “We might get a call in seven days, we might get a call in two weeks. No one knows. It might happen at anytime.”

When it does happen, the family is expected to fly to Toronto and from there, board a flight to Vancouver. Cook said the Campbell River Baptist Church has recently initiated its own sponsorship initiative to support an additional four Syrian refugees – a family of three and one individual – and the church is keen to coordinate its efforts with those of the Syrian Refugee Committee. Cook said the community has been so generous, attending ongoing fundraisers to help raise enough money to sponsor Awad’s family.

“The outpouring of support from this community has been incredible and is integral to the successful integration of these families within our community,” Cook said. Now all they can do is wait.

 

Just Posted

Family Literacy Week in Campbell River a chance to celebrate play

A few additions to the itinerary from previous years, week-long event ‘shaping up to be super great’

Vancouver Island amateur radio operators now better equipped to help in an emergency

More courses starting soon for those interested in helping SRD communicate after a major event

Campbell River-area First Nation chief steps down due to health

After serving five terms as Chief of the Wei Wai Kum Nation,… Continue reading

Report: City of Campbell River needs a maintenance plan for Nunns Creek Nature Trust

Extensive ecological inventory shows both the good and the bad of city-leased lands downtown

Campbell River Fire Department douses truck fire on Inland Island Highway

A driver pulled over when the engine in his truck started smoking… Continue reading

WATCH: Giant waves smash Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point

Folks made their way to Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point Lighthouse on Thursday, Jan.… Continue reading

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Workers shouldn’t be used as ‘pawns’ in minimum wage fight: Wynne

Comments from Kathleen Wynne after demonstrators rallied outside Tim Hortons locations across Canada

John ‘Chick’ Webster, believed to be oldest living former NHL player, dies

Webster died Thursday at his home in Mattawa, Ont., where he had resided since 1969

World’s fastest log car made in B.C. sells for $350,000 US

Cedar Rocket auctioned off three times at Barrett-Jackson Co., netting $350,000 US for veterans

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

Woman in Nanaimo buys $70 worth of ice cream with allegedly stolen debit card

Purchase said to have occurred on Jan. 11 at 2 a.m. at Nicol General Store

RCMP nail alleged sex toy thief

Shop owner plays a role in arrest

Most Read