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2014-01-13 at 23:58

Raising the roof

Deputants raise concerns about a proposed youth centre Monday night.
Deputants raise concerns about a proposed youth centre Monday night.
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By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com

City council has approved a new youth centre in principle but not without concerns from neighbours and frustrations from some councillors.

Only two councillors, Coun. Trevor Giertuga and Coun. Larry Hebert, opposed the plan to partner with the Indian Friendship Centre and transform the former Port Arthur Prosvita into the 50-year-old centre's new home and house a new youth centre for the city. The city would provide $2.5 million to renovate the building and spend $300,000 a year in operating costs. Giertuga said he's concerned that the city would spend that much on a much-needed youth centre without considering any other options for locations. He said it's important that he tell the public that all options were considered.

"I don't think that I can say that right now," he said. "I haven't seen any alternatives."

The city's portion, which would include provincial and federal funding that has yet to be approved, would come from Renew Thunder Bay. Coun. Larry Hebert was concerned that the fund can't support everything the city wants to do with it, such as fund the proposed events centre.

But council was told that the centre approached the city with the partnership idea. A youth centre is something that council has said it wanted and this is a good opportunity to make it happen.

"We would be throwing an opportunity away that may not come back for a long time,” Coun. Paul Pugh said.
“This is about the future of our city and we shouldn't lose sight of that.”

Michael Lemesani, who lives in the area and has raised concerns about the idea, told council that there might be more crime in the area if the city did approve the plan. But he was told that the centre would actually have programs, such as youth removing graffiti in the area, that would help reduce acts like vandalism.

He was also concerned that the centre would be difficult to find and youth might have trouble accessing. Coun. Ken Boshcoff said the youth of today are pretty resourceful when it comes to finding locations.

"If a young person wants to go somewhere, they’ll Google it,” he said.

As for access issues, the centre's Matthew Thompson said there are five bus routes that pass near the building.
Concerns that the youth centre would be for First Nations only, another of Lemesani's concerns, is also something that needs to be cleared Coun. Andrew Foulds said.

"Some of that narrative is 'us versus them',” he said. "Instead of simply 'us'."

As for parking, environmental and infrastructure concerns, city infrastructure and operations manager Darrell Matson said anything that did come up could be handled.

"We do not have any significant issues with those that have been raised,” he said.


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Comments

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Tbaylifer 1 says:
If the youth centre is truly going to be for all then a name change is warranted. Might I suggest," Thunder Bay Youth Centre".
1/14/2014 5:33:46 AM
jonthunder says:
There have been concerns expressed that it may be perceived as and Indian/Aboriginal Youth Centre; this may be due to the association with the name Indian Friendship Centre. Perhaps give the joint youth centre the name "The Respect Youth Centre"; this would build on the "respect campaign being so well promoted by the city and aboriginal community.
1/14/2014 6:45:23 AM
kam River says:
At least Coun. Trevor Giertuga and Coun. Larry Hebert, opposed the plan. $300,000 operating in just the 1st year. This could go to a million in a very short time. At least these two councilors understand
(1) It is not needed there are a number of youth centres run by volunteer groups across the city
(2) Again the city is taking away from neighbourhoods
(3) As a parent I want my children playing close to home where I know their friends and their friends parents. This is especially important during the teenage years
(4) Just another example of this tax an spend council.
Maybe it is time to start electing councillorss who understand the importance of the neighbourhoods (wards) were they are elected.
1/14/2014 8:37:52 AM
Dockboy says:
Federal and provincial funding has yet to be approved. Why the big push from the city to get this passed through? If funding from government agencies fails to materialize, every man,woman and child is on the hook for contributing $22.73 each for the initial setup of this project. I'd be willing to bet they haven't even applied for government funding yet.
1/14/2014 8:42:47 AM
unknowncronik says:
What a FARCE!

2.8 million bucks in the first year?

Yet were told city hall is pinching pennies to have the snow banks removed????????????????????

When will this non-sense STOP!
1/14/2014 9:56:06 AM
ou812 says:
You got it! I really don't see this as a priority for the city of thunder bay. especially @ $300, 000 a year.
1/14/2014 10:40:56 PM
stonecutter says:
Council already determined that a youth centre was needed. Then this partnership opportunity falls right into their lap! A fraction of the cost, great partner, great location.

seems like a no brainer! do it!
1/14/2014 10:50:52 AM
buzz says:
Dockboy, It lends credibility to the grant applications to higher levels of government if it is already approved by local government. Depending on the grants requested sometimes it is a requirement to apply. My understanding is the Cities portion is approved conditioal upon them recieving the other money from the feds and provincial governments or other funding sources. If those are not approved the project is dead, not that the City would foot the whole bill.
1/14/2014 11:46:40 AM
jonthunder says:
This youth centre will largely focus on youth at risk and many whose families live in poverty. It is a great and needed investment to help keep these youth off the street and doing healthy, rewarding activities - we will all benefit; or is the choice to be that we all lose? I sure hope racism is not again rearing its ugly head in our community.
1/14/2014 11:51:56 AM
Eastender says:
Gotta give the construction companies something to do. Anything that has to do with major construction usualy gets pushed through, regardless of taxpayer concerns. Seems like a pattern emerging.
1/14/2014 1:26:34 PM
westfort resident says:
540 High St S is the only available property in the entire city?
1/14/2014 2:13:04 PM
smoke stack says:
A message to Paul Pugh, the McKellar ward voters are looking forward to voting you out as councillor .
1/14/2014 2:44:38 PM
tsb says:
McKellar ward is more than just a handful of racists on Fourth Ave. ;)

And they are racists. I've heard them speak. If the word "Indian" wasn't attached to this we wouldn't be talking about it.
1/14/2014 9:09:28 PM
ou812 says:
I really don't see a need for another youth centre, especially not in the location our lame duck council is looking at. Look at some of the old schools that are abandoned. Oliver Road School for instance. Or find something close to where most of the youth crime occurs (county park and May Street area come to mind)

Also, If this goes through and takes away our chance at an Event Centre on the waterfront I will be pissed as will many other young professional tax payers in this town. People of Thunder Bay remember these incompetent councillors when its time to vote!
1/14/2014 10:52:56 PM
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