Municipal officials aren’t ready to close the Squamish youth centre’s doors just yet.
The Squamish Youth Resource Centre was placed on the chopping block in the District of Squamish’s proposed 2014 municipal budget. Before the building’s roof was repaired, it leaked, leading to ongoing mould issues, staff informed council at a budget meeting on Tuesday (Jan. 7).
Maintenance on the former RCMP detachment, located across from Howe Sound Secondary School, costs the district $3,500 annually. At a district meeting in November, director of recreation services Tim Hoskin said the building required $320,000 worth of upgrades.
The district has a contract with Sea to Sky Community Services (SSCS) to fund the youth centre to the tune of $125,000 in 2014 and $252,000 annually afterward. While district officials will sit down with SSCS to discuss programming, the municipality is still left with the problem of the deteriorating building, Mayor Rob Kirkham said.
District staff proposed the building be demolished and programming moved to the either the Squamish Seniors Centre or the Brennan Park Recreation Centre.
The centre’s staff and users don’t want to move, Coun. Susan Chapelle said. The building is right next to Squamish’s main high school and close to transit, she said. The district could ask the community to help save the building, Chapelle said.
“It provides a significant service to the community that should not be cut,” she said.
The 2014 budget kick-started a conversation that needed to occur, Coun. Doug Race said. The centre may have to be temporarily relocated while the district figures out a long-term solution, he said.
“I am not prepared to cut the programming, but I am prepared to see the building demolished,” Race said.
It’s “a little disappointing” that there isn’t a plan in place this year, Coun. Ron Sander said. But the district can’t spend money rebuilding buildings while it has larger financial concerns on the table, such as the Squamish Oceanfront, he noted.
Kirkham requested district staff bring back a more in-depth report on youth centre options for this year.