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Tbnewswatch Local News
Saturday May 23 2015
9:23 AM EDT
2014-05-13 at MIDNIGHT

Staying open: Youth centre gets some backing from city council

By Jamie Smith,

THUNDER BAY -- A youth centre that those who use it say is vital can keep its city-owned supplies until at least July.

Administration recommended that the city takes its $20,000 or so worth of furniture, appliances, computers and other equipment from a Victoriaville youth centre that it helped launch. The centre started as a pilot program with Wasaya Group and the newly formed Youth Centres Thunder Bay around 18 months ago to test new program delivery for the city.

The program formally ended April 30 but Youth Centres Thunder Bay kept the doors open, saying it was vital to the area and the youth, 13-18, who need it. Along with formal programs it also helps youth with mental health, cooking and provides a safe space. It’s also used by the Children’s Aid Society’s outreach worker.

Members of the centre’s youth council waited nearly 5 hours Monday before they had the chance to explain why the centre mattered so much. President Daniel Voss said that more than 400 youth have used the centre so far. The group also showed a video with testimonials from youth at the centre.

“If the centre closed I’d be really really sad. I don’t know what I would do,” said a 13-year-old in the video.

The group has been tracking down other funding sources and can cover operational costs until September. They were asking council for any financial help in order to help cover costs until other funding was approved.

But community services manager Greg Alexander said the city’s recent budget constraints have hit his department hard, particularly youth services. The program also didn’t’ meet the expectations of his department. It would be better to take the equipment in the centre and use it elsewhere for existing city programs.

“I’m sorry I just don’t buy that,” Coun. Paul Pugh said.

There was no way the city’s budget concerns should hit a program that the city helped set up he said. Pugh said it was a step backward for the city if it didn’t help the centre and youth involved.

Coun. Rebecca Johnson agreed. The city should be helping any organization that is trying to fill a need in the community.

“At least they’re up and trying to move forward,” she said.

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anvil of crom says:
its a no brainer. City , support this cause! tangible benefits of something of this nature is hard to measure, its not in ticket sales or in the report of a consultant.
Keeping kids off the streets, we all can agree is a good thing.
AND its a fact many kids that come to this city from outlying communities need support like this. Some of these young kids from reserves with little life experience in the city environment have come under the wing of gangs.
Its a proven fact a few have then died or been assaulted.
The whole indian friendship centre is a blow to this process as well.
Youth is tomorrow.
If this group somehow got their message out I am sure public donations of what many consider outdated but still useable landfill bound computers, microwaves, fridges an even furniture could be gotten.
5/15/2014 1:13:31 PM
nvjgu says:
Budget restraints. Be interesting to see what happins with the con collage funding request to build a residence for the influx of international student's.
5/15/2014 3:37:42 AM
Kam River says:
"Greg Alexander said the city’s recent budget constraints have hit his department hard, particularly youth services."
Ever notice that the city kills programs that people support.
Never the ones that we do not want or need.
There is the whole Culture Division that could go. They are the onces that gave us the Million Dollar hockey sticks. And now want more money to decorate the Transit garage.
Next to be the Bike Lane Division and all the money they waste. There main roll besides wasting money is to turn drivers and cyclists against one another.
How come we all got along before this money wasting department of was born.
5/14/2014 8:08:30 AM
fastball says: used to be you could run the cyclists off the roads ANYWHERE. Now you have to drive in the bike lanes to hit 'em.
5/15/2014 6:05:13 PM
Tiredofit says:
This should be supported on a regular basis, never mind hiring consultants for this or that, invest in our youth!
A NO BRAINER and any councilor who voted against it should be smacked upside the head.
5/13/2014 2:10:22 PM
joey joe joe jr. shabadoo says:
put the youth centre in the MA-ARENA
5/13/2014 11:54:38 AM
glass half full says:
Money well spent.!!!!

Council do the right thing get behind the children.

If we can waste money in this city on bike repair stations? We can invest in our kids too!!

5/13/2014 11:06:18 AM
funinthesun says:
Kam River - you forgot to mention the big bucks from taxpayers given to RE GEN. This is a real thorn in a lot of peoples sides, and here's hoping this move by council is also remembered come election time. We have never seen their faces back in council chambers or ever heard how their repayment is going. Not to mention the "free money" they were given...maybe they're bankrupt now -who knows they just seemed to disappear off the face of the earth. No more TV advertising for them either.
Give the money to the kids they all sounded very intelligent and are working hard to help others who are less fortunate. There are many youth out there who need a place to belong and feel good about themselves.
5/13/2014 10:32:09 AM
Kam River says:
City Council wants to take "$20,000 or so worth of furniture, appliances, computers and other equipment from a Victoriaville youth centre that it helped launch."
Yet it lost $57,000 on the Pros for the Indian Friendship Centre.
And how many Million on the Multiplex forcing it upon our community. Didn't Wasaya Group put in $80,000 are they asking for their money back also? Bet not...
This goes to show how little this council cares about the citizens of Thunder Bay and their children.
Very Sad.
5/13/2014 8:31:12 AM
Back-in-the-bay says:
So first off let me say I'm for this youth centre staying open. That said, I don't think that I pilot project should have any entitlement to ongoing or sustained funding. In fact, Pugh's comments come as no surprise, but Johnson's honestly astounded me. I like Rebecca quite a lot, particularly her fiscal responsibility. It doesn't show here though. It doesn't say what the actual operational costs are, so it's hard to comment much on that point, but in general, if the city is providing some infrastructure in kind, then provincial funding should be that much easier to attain. Of course this only happens if the business part of this is sound. Just because it sounds all warm and fuzzy, doesn't mean it's fiscally realistic. The two concepts need to be exclusive.
5/13/2014 7:19:03 AM
Kwakuv says:
In the business report that the centre had provided to council, it had all of that information in there, so the city did already have an idea to of the centres operational costs, plus The city would know all of that due to the fact it works with the centre for over 18 months. I think that the the opinion of the centre is that they would just like to keep the stuff, there are not many if not no programs the city is running at the moment that would need any of the things that are in the centre at this moment. The youth accessing the centre have grown attached to the times in there. The centre is in no position at the moment to replace everything and still stay operational. Like the report said, they can stay operational till fall of 2014, however thats only if the stuff stays there. Whats the point of having a centre with no fridge, dishwasher, art supplies, computers, programming materials. No youth is going to want to come. The city seems to have this trend of abandoning projects.
5/13/2014 6:55:07 PM
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