THUNDER BAY – A Youth Centre project in partnership with the Indian Friendship Centre will not move forward as envisioned due to capital funding not being secured by the purchase option deadline of March 14, 2014. Tim Commisso, the City Manager states that the shortfall in funding is about $2.5 million.
The city feels that there is interest in capital funding at the provincial and federal level for the project, however that funding has not come forward yet.
“City Council on Monday night confirmed a closed session property-related decision that directs Administration not to extend the City’s option to purchase the building and property at 540 High Street South currently the Prosvita”, said Mark Smith, General Manager – Development Services.
The proposed $8.1 million project was approved in principle by Council under a two-phased construction program including a Youth Centre (phase 1) and a new Friendship Centre programming and office addition (phase 2). Subject to capital funding support from other orders of government, the City had been prepared to contribute a one-third share toward capital ($2.5 million) as well as operating funding starting in 2015 ($300,000 a year). Despite best efforts, the City and the Friendship Centre were unable to secure matching federal and provincial funding for the project.
“We have worked hard in partnership with the Indian Friendship Centre for two years on a Youth Centre as part of a larger project to move the Friendship Centre from its existing overcrowded Cumberland Street facility,” said John Hannam, City Clerk, who has responsibility for the Aboriginal Liaison Office. “Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the City’s support did not leverage the kind of capital funding package that would be required to acquire, renovate and build the facility as envisioned.”
City Administration will report back to City Council on April 7 to seek further direction from Council to explore other options related to developing City Youth Centre(s).
One possible option that City Manager Commisso does not rule out is extending the pilot project with Youth Centres Thunder Bay located at 711 Victoria Avenue East in the historic Chapple Building.