Pembina Counselling opens new location

Executive Director Paul Penner. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

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A generous community made a move for the Pembina Counselling Centre possible in Winkler.

The centre hosted a grand opening for their new facility at 915 Navigator Rd. on Sept. 6, and Executive Director Paul Penner explained how the move was made possible.

“About two years ago we decided at the board level that we needed to find more space because we were cramped,” he said.

The board found a 1,000 square foot space that needed developing, a definite move up from the 600 square feet they occupied.

However funding was an issue.

“By January of 2019… we had $16,000. We figured it was going to cost in the $70,000 (range),” he said.

But as they started pricing out different aspects, an amazing thing began to happen.

Parkside gifted them necessary supplies, an overseer/skilled carpenter volunteered his time and attracted more volunteers, Elias Woodworking gifted cabinets, Carman Granite “garage saled” a granite counter top, and RiteWay offered their lift. “Other trades people were kind to us by giving us good service, good deals,” Penner said.

“We took a risk when we had $16,400,” he added. “It’s a big jump to $70,000 but it’s all covered.”

Penner said they’re very aware of how blessed they are. “We have a lot of people to be grateful for and we feel like God blessed us, giving us this opportunity to serve people here,” he said.

The previous space had a single office/interview room. The new space has three.

“We need to enlist some more counselling days and contract with counsellors,” he said. “For probably two years we’ve had a wait list although sometimes it’s only three weeks, sometimes a month, sometimes it’s been two months or longer.”

Penner will move to the counselling side and the organization will hire a new executive director.

Pembina Counselling Centre was started in 1993 after a group of people found that local doctors and churches simply didn’t have the resources they needed. That first year saw 353 appointments. Now, close to 3,000 appointments are scheduled across multiple locations.

“We believe that restoring individuals and relationships has eternal value for good and is the primary reason for being,” states their mission statement.

Costs of counselling can be paid by benefits or employers and fees are geared to income. No one is turned away because of their inability to pay.

Counselling is offered to deal with issues such as abuse, addictions, anger management, depression, eating disorders, grief, lifestyle changes, marriage, parenting, separation adjustment, spiritual issues, stress, trauma and more.

For more information go to

One of the three offices/counselling rooms. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

Mayor Martin Harder congratulates Executive Director Paul Penner. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

Executive Director Paul Penner. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

The ribbon was cut Sept. 6 to officially open the new location of the Pembina Counselling Centre in Winkler. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)