Tbnewswatch Local News
Friday July 3 2015
6:41 AM EDT
2014-07-28 at NOON

Council preview: Youth Centre funding

Youth Centres Thunder Bay’s Colleen Peters is hopeful council will provide at least some funding at Monday night’s meeting to keep the facility afloat until the fall, when other funding applications might come through.
Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com
Youth Centres Thunder Bay’s Colleen Peters is hopeful council will provide at least some funding at Monday night’s meeting to keep the facility afloat until the fall, when other funding applications might come through.
By Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com

THUNDER BAY -- Colleen Peters is confident city council will see the benefit of keeping a Victoriaville Mall youth centre afloat, at least for a few months.

Administration, however, is recommending council withdraw all funding and equipment from Youth Centres Thunder Bay and turn down the organization’s $25,000 request.

In a report scheduled to go before council on Monday night, administration also provides options that include a $5,000 contribution, money Peters said could help them bridge the gap until they find out in the fall if they were successful in their provincial grant application process.

“I’ve looked at the report and I thought it wasn’t so bad,” Peters said, adding she planned to rally the troops over the weekend and hopefully show up in force at Monday night’s scheduled council meeting.

“There are a lot of things we’ll have to respond to the city about in regards to our business plan, but overall the recommendations that administration and the department of recreation and culture are making are pretty good and we would be ecstatic if council approved either us keeping the equipment until we know if we’ve been successful or not for the cultural funding application we submitted.”

Her confidence is buoyed by the fact that a year ago the centre was facing similar challenges and administration recommended pulling out at that time, only to have council vehemently oppose the plan.

According to administration’s report, a business plan presented to the city at a May 12 meeting was lacking key information and components, including detail on management and operations, a financial plan and a balanced operating budget.

The report also noted discrepancies between the plan and what the group presented to council, 18 months after the pilot project began.

But while administration admits the need for increased youth programming and a long-term youth centre does exist in Thunder Bay, the report suggests the three-day-a-week Youth Centres Thunder Bay was not serving the people they set out to de-marginalize.

When the organization first opened in 2012, its goal was to serve First Nations youth in the city from remote reserves.

“While the need exists to help these youth, during the course of the 18-month pilot, recreation and culture division staff who were directly involved in the pilot operations indicated the majority of youth attending the centre were not in fact students from remote First Nations, but rather youth from Pope John Paul School, sea cadets, the Regional Multicultural Youth Centre, St. Patrick’s High School, Shelter House and students from the Tae Kwan Do school in Victoriaville.

City officials added the location, chosen before the approval of the Youth Centres Plan, does not meet the criteria set out for a long-term youth centre.
Instead the plan identifies the boys and Girls Club and the Evergreen United Neighbourhood as designated satellite program sites, adding it’s premature to comment on Youth Centres Thunder Bay’s possible designation until the criteria is laid out later this year.

Peters said no council support would be devastating, but they would try to soldier on.

“We do have backup plans to hopefully be able to replace some of the items that would be necessary to keep us in operation. But I think it would kind of go against a youth-driven city if they chose to take all the equipment immediately all at once,” Peters said.

At stake are appliances, including a dishwasher, fridge and freezer, furniture and computer equipment, which the city claims is needed at community centres and other facilities.


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ranma says:
Uhh isn't this the one that is PRIVATELY FUNDED by Wasaya? One that the city already gave over 50 grand to? If they are so desperate for money, why not ask your primary "owner".
7/28/2014 7:16:05 PM
Tada2010 says:
The city had no qualms at all in forking over million's to the IFC. They are asking for $25,000 & its a problem? Ya, OK.. makes sense to me.
7/28/2014 3:26:46 PM
j_northey says:
An interesting issue - a youth centre that helps youth but not the youth it was intended to help. Having it in a mall makes a ton of sense as that is where teens tend to go anyways and I'm sure some of the stores love having more kids there. I think the big issue is the fact that it was intended for one group but another uses it, thus the city must decide if helping youth is #1, or if helping just one subset of youth is what they care about.

My thoughts are, if it is helping kids and has value then keep it going. How many use it? Has it helped them? That is what should matter most. As to those from remote reserves, maybe more discussion with those at-risk youths and watching to see where they tend to be will help plans for a centre that would be more useful for them. Advertising to those kids where this is (facebook ads, teachers mentioning it in class, etc.) too would help (no idea if that is occurring or not).
7/28/2014 3:18:46 PM
signman says:
When it comes to the waterfront money is no object. ( $1 million for two useless beacons at the waterfront and another $1 million dollars recently approved for phase three of another proposed money losing, WHITE ELEPHANT at the waterfront.)

When it comes to keeping a youth centre open, a swimming pool, outdoor hockey rink or a golf course open for the young and old the city crys poor and says it is strapped for money.

7/28/2014 1:54:23 PM
Joey_J says:
file your NOMINATION PAPERS. walk the walk sign guy.
7/28/2014 3:42:24 PM
smartguy83 says:
No, they just make informed decisions and ensure that the program/rink/pool/golf course are being used enough.
7/28/2014 4:04:55 PM
moonpie says:
Excuse me but those million dollar beacons are not "useless". They provide much needed artistic scenery for the homeless. Who needs food and shelter, right?
7/28/2014 4:07:24 PM
eventscentre says:
If the city gave every spare dime it had to the homeless, it would just create more and more homeless people. Why would anyone work if the city just took care of everyone? And then there'd be no taxpayers, and hence we'd all be on the streets. This is something the a lot of people don't understand....so the money was better spend on art
7/28/2014 5:14:40 PM
smartguy83 says:
You were saying....how about wait for Council to act first?
7/28/2014 10:33:04 PM
nvjgu says:
They should have asked for 100k. City spends 25k a month just painting dumb bike lain's
7/28/2014 1:42:32 PM
jb says:
We should invest that money in spelling lessons.
7/28/2014 9:46:30 PM
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