Squamish Youth Centre facing costly repairs resulting in decision to permanently close the facility

Programming and support for local youth will continue at various locations until new Youth Hub opens in 2021

The inevitable closure of the Squamish Youth Centre has arrived sooner than hoped due to costly repairs that are now required to the plumbing within the building. A new Youth Hub is being built and is expected to open in 2021. In the meantime, programming, services and resources geared to Squamish’s young people will be delivered by the District and partners Sea to Sky Community Services (SSCS), the Squamish Arts Council and others at various locations throughout the community.

The Youth Centre will close March 16.

“It is with great reluctance that we close the current Youth Centre in advance of the new facility opening. However, it is our absolute priority to continue to support all local youth with programming, services and, when needed, extra support until the new Youth Hub opens on Buckley Avenue next year,” says Mayor Karen Elliott. “With the input, direction and energy from youth who helped us build the new Youth Strategy, I know we can succeed and meet the needs of our young people through this transition.”

The District’s newly adopted Youth Strategy identifies the desire to expand youth programming in Squamish, particularly in the areas of arts and culture, wellness and leadership, and life skills. These new programs, plus core programming and resources for all youth and youth who require specific and additional support, will continue to be offered. Details will be announced in the coming weeks, and youth are invited to stay tuned to a revamped youth page online at squamish.ca/youth-services or to the Sea to Sky Community Services website at sscs.ca/youth-services for updates and information. Youth are also encouraged to follow along on Instagram at @squamishtown.

“For more than two decades, Sea to Sky Community Services has been delivering high quality, accessible programs and social services to young people at the Squamish Youth Resource Centre,” says Jaye Russell, SSCS Executive Director. “Due to circumstances out of our control, that building must now be closed. However, we are building a new Youth Hub with the help of our community partners. It will provide a safe and welcoming place for all youth, and offer a range of recreational and educational programming, as well as that extra support when needed to help with the challenges we all face growing up.”

A new Youth Hub will open in 2021 in the Buckley Avenue Affordable Rental Housing Building near Howe Sound Secondary School.

Russell said the new Youth Hub will give young people aged 12 to 24 a vibrant space where they can socialize, enjoy a meal, play games, develop important life skills and meaningfully connect with both peers and support staff. SSCS is currently focused on fundraising for the $1.5 million needed to build the new Youth Hub, and encourages the community to get involved in the Youth Hub Capital Campaign and give generously at sscs.ca/youth-hub.

“We know that the closure of this facility will come as unwelcome news and we are working to ensure that youth have access to the programs, people and the resources they need during the transition,” continues Elliott. “Unfortunately the building has deteriorated to the point that it is beyond its safe, usable life, and cannot remain open.” 

 

Background:

In November 2019, the District of Squamish entered a Memorandum of Understanding with the Squamish Nation, Vancouver Coastal Health, Ministry of Children and Family Development, School District 48 and Sea to Sky Community Services to operate a new Youth Hub.

After comprehensive collaboration with Squamish’s youth and partner agencies, the District adopted a Youth Strategy in late 2019. A key value of “Bring the Programs to the Youth” was identified in the Youth Strategy and that youth programs and spaces should be affordable, diverse, inclusive and accessible. They should occur in places such as the new Youth Hub, neighbourhood centre, library, recreation facilities and schools.

 

February 14, 2020

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