By Steve Hubrecht 

[email protected] 

Longtime Family Dynamix Association executive director Pat Cope is stepping down from the role this spring.

The Family Dynamix Association (formerly known as the Family Resource Centre) is a nonprofit group that works to support families, women and children throughout the Columbia Valley in a wide range of programs and services.

Cope has been involved with the association for more than 30 years and has been its executive director for much of that time. During that stretch she has been instrumental in initiating new programs and projects (including several very prominent affordable housing developments) and has left an imprint on the valley that will last for years to come.

“She has really done a lot for Family Dynamix, and in fact for the whole valley. She’s been actively involved in so much,” said Family Dynamix Better at Home program coordinator Jennifer Lindal. “She really is immersed in all aspects of the valley.”

Lindal is also Cope’s sister and recalls that even while growing up, Cope had a big heart. Cope moved away from the Columbia Valley for a while as a young adult, but returned, and then started working with Family Dynamix not long after.

“To do the kind of work Family Dynamix does, you have to lead with your heart first. And Pat definitely has done that. She’s been an exemplary role model for us,” said Lindal. “It’s been a great journey to work with her.”

Cope’s many accomplishments include spearheading the Farmhouse affordable housing project, the Carriage Court affordable housing project, the Invermere Centre block (with low-rent commercial office space in lower units and low-rent apartments above), planning a Dragon Boat festival to draw attention to and support women’s rights, launching the Early Years program, setting up multiple office spaces for the association in Invermere, launching a satellite office in Canal Flats, opening the Women’s Centre near the laundromat, and much more.

Outside of the Family Dynamix Association, Cope has served on the board of the Columbia Valley Food Bank and has been president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 71, Windermere District, among other volunteer efforts.

Cope will be retiring to an acreage near Wycliffe (between Kimberley and Cranbrook) where she and her husband will live a more rural lifestyle. “She’s really going to enjoy a lot more gardening, growing her own vegetables, raising animals and being outdoors,” said Lindal. ‘She loves those things, she just hasn’t yet had a chance to do them as much as she would like.”

A farewell party for Cope will be held at the Legion on 13th Street in Invermere on Thursday, March 28. The event will run from 1 to 4 p.m. There will be a slide show, a few stories shared, and some gag gifts given.

“It’s a casual, drop-in style event. That’s the way Pat wants it. Members of the community can pop in and leave at any time,” outlined Lindal.

Invermere resident and former Invermere councillor Ute Juras will take over from Cope as the new Family Dynamix Association executive director.