Skip to content

LETTER: Bow Valley Victim Services – the victim of politics

LETTER: My only hope is someone sees the light and changes the fate of our Bow Valley Victim Services before it’s too late.


In September 2023, those of us who volunteer and work with Bow Valley Victim Services (BVVS), received an email from Peter Quinn, BVVS’s executive director for nearly 30 years.

The email included a letter from the board informing us with “great sadness” that as of Sept. 30, 2024, BVVS will cease its operations due to the decision made by the current UCP provincial government to shift to a regional service model.

Many of you who are reading this have benefited from BVVS through the years – whether as advocates who have received phenomenal training from BVVS, or as victims of a crime, sudden death, domestic abuse, a mountaineering accident, car accident, or other trauma.

I came to the valley with a background in counselling that was coupled with critical incident training and exceptional guidance from Peter and his long-time colleague, Pam Lockyer, for nearly 15 years with BVVS. But it was my own understanding of the mountains that enabled me to be there for the families of loved ones who died in ways that for many, were difficult to understand.

I remember one very difficult conversation a few years ago with a mother whose child died after falling down a couloir. Not only was a couloir a completely foreign concept to her but so too was the desire to be recreating in terrain like that.

The why. The how. These things matter when your job is to be a support to victims and their families.

Then there are the first responders who are either dealing with a crime, or dealing with unfathomable, and often complex circumstances who neither have the time nor training necessary to attend to friends and family of victims who are suffering and in need of immediate support.

The Bow Valley is unique in its trauma and it’s hard to imagine how someone, in Alberta’s regional model who does not understand mountain life or tourist destinations, could provide the same level of service during a crisis. So yes, dismantling BVVS is very sad. The greatest tragedy of ending a decades long program, that has literally been a lifeline for this community, is the fact a political party has succeeded in such disruptive overreach.

Politicians come and go, but in a very short time, a new government has managed to dismantle one of the most important services our community has. Our community was very fortunate to have Peter Quinn at the helm for three decades. I am greatly thankful for his vision, fortitude and deep understanding of what services were best for victims whether locals or visitors to our region.

I am also deeply grateful for the many conversations through the years with Pam as I walked alongside families and victims having suffered all sorts of misfortunes. My only hope is someone sees the light and changes the fate of our BVVS before it’s too late.

Laura Lynes,


push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks