WASAGA BEACH – The Wasaga Beach Youth Centre has found a home and will open this fall, say officials.
Council agreed Aug. 31 to house the youth centre at the medical building located at the corner of Mosley Street and 39th Street South.
"I am very pleased to have found a suitable area and building for our youth centre. This is our first small step towards creating a safe gathering place for our youth," said Councillor Nina Bifolchi, who is a member of the committee that worked to establish the centre.
"This two-year temporary location will afford us the opportunity to reach the youth of our community as well as allow us to have hands-on learning of this type of centre prior to constructing a permanent location within the community. My hope is that our youth will get involved with this project to make it a great success."
The town's parks and facilities manager, Gerry Reinders, said the youth centre will be reassessed in two years to determine whether a bigger space is required. He said that reassessment could happen earlier if the space proves to be too small.
"It will be a two-year trial. If the youth support it we will see if we need a bigger space," said Reinders.
Organizers had wanted a larger centre to begin with but found leasing space in Wasaga Beach was too expensive, so last month council directed the organizing committee to find a municipally-owned building that could accommodate the centre.
The committee settled on the medical centre, which meets its criteria of being on the transit route and is close to the RecPlex.
The centre's annual operating budget is between $80,000 and $90,000. Reinders said community partnerships and fundraising could offset operating costs.
The town is currently looking to hire a full-time youth coordinator to manage the youth centre and two part-time assistants. All three positions will be two-year contracts.
Reinders said the programming and atmosphere at the youth centre will depend heavily on the youth coordinator.
Renovations are already underway to make the space more suitable. The space has been used as temporary offices for parks and recreation staff for the past year and served as a dentist office before that.
Reinders said work is being done to open up the space. Those visiting the 1,000 square foot centre will enter through the Mosley Street entrance where there will be a coat rack and a bank of computers that leads into a lounge area and kitchenette.
The lounge area will be furnished with couches and chairs, a television and other electronics, including a video game system. The second half of the room will have a pool table that has been donated to the centre.
Reinders said the centre also hopes to utilize a building to the rear of the medical centre for other programs, such as babysitting courses and health related programs, including those being developed in conjunction with the Community Health Centre.
The centre is set to open at the beginning of October. It will be open Monday to Saturday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Anyone interested in getting involved is welcome to call the recreation department at 429-3321.
courtesy of The Wasaga Sun