Mission’s old seniors activity centre is going to be repurposed into a new youth centre.
Council voted unanimously to support transforming the building on 10th Avenue and Taulbut Street on April 6.
“This will be huge for the kids in this town, it’ll be huge for providing a safe place for kids to come and spend time when they are outside of school,” said Coun. Mark Davies. “They can feel like they have a place of their own.”
Mission’s seniors programming was transferred to the new Boswyk Seniors Activity Centre after its recent completion. This has provided the opportunity to expand space for “new and enhanced” programming for youth aged 13 to 18, staff’s recommendation said.
Youth-mandated organizations in Mission have raised concerns about the negative impact of boredom, loneliness and isolation related to the pandemic restrictions, staff reported.
Council recently passed a resolution for staff to find a fix.
“Due to the recent events that happened earlier this year, this definitely shows that we are listening, and we’ve taken action,” said Coun. Ken Herar.
The youth organizations report local kids have noted a lack of local activities, especially for those not engaged in minor sports, staff said.
Without support, youth are at risk of falling into bad habits and choices for their long-term wellness, the recommendation said.
Mission current youth lounge is a single converted racquet court, which was used mainly for “hanging out,” staff said. It’s been closed during the pandemic because of the limited space.
The new facilities hours of operation will be significantly increased, only being closed two days a year.
|Hours of operation comparison.|
The old seniors centre is adjacent to the Mission Leisure Centre, which will compliment programs, amenities, parking, and security already there, the report said.
The municipal parks, recreation and culture department has had conversations with local youth and put together a wishlist for the new facility, staff said.
Applications have already been submitted to several community foundations and government grants to fund equipment and programming.
The building, which was used as a temporary firehall before it became a seniors centre, will need some renovations before it’s ready, staff said. Council voted to move on the project right away.
The alterations will be funded by $105,000 from the district’s general capital fund, and will be completed by May at the latest.
|How the $105,000 will be spent.|
Equipment and supplies will be moved from the current youth lounge, and new staff hires and COVID-19 safe programming will start over the summer. There could be delays if vaccination clinics require more space.
Staff anticipate at least two staff to be working at the facility at any given time, and proposed adding $66,000 to the youth lounge operating budget.
|How the $66,000 budget increase will be spent.|
The facility’s operations and upkeep after 2022 will require a property tax increase of 0.2 per cent.
“I fully support it,” said Coun. Danny Plecas.”I hope people will continue to support that, and not come back and say somewhere down the road after 2022, ‘I don’t want to see a tax increase.’”