THUNDER BAY – By 11PM on Monday night, City Council finally got to the Youth Centre discussion on the Agenda. City Administration was seeking to pull the equipment out of Youth Centres Thunder Bay, including furniture, computers and a gaming system. City Manager Greg Alexander was citing the tough budget conditions facing Thunder Bay.
Council was told by Daniel Voss how the Youth Centre is really doing. The original pilot project, which was a public-private partnership between the City of Thunder Bay, Wasaya Group Inc., and Youth Centres Thunder Bay has completed its 18 month study period.
Youth Centres Thunder Bay is seeking to continue operations at the location in the historic Chapple Building, going forward with new funders and keeping the very needed centre open.
Council overrode Administration and has voted to leave the equipment in place at the Youth Centre until at least July.
The move to pull equipment out of the youth centre is one that Council was right in over-riding Administration’s recommendation.
It is unlikely that having two Dell Extreme computers, a fridge, stove, dishwasher, and a television set and gaming centre along with the other materials which are a part of the City’s $20,000 investment in youth will assist the City of Thunder Bay in moving forward to solve budget problems.
However to pull the equipment out of Youth Centres Thunder Bay would in effect leave the kids with little equipment in the centre.
The real issue for the City isn’t some used computers and appliances. The real issue is how only a few months, and a few heavy snowfalls have almost every manager putting the blame on the snow clearing budget for all of the problems facing Thunder Bay.
The City is stating that millions of dollars are being invested in infrastructure this year. Roads are getting fixed, along with bridges and other needed work.
Thunder Bay is facing some serious issues and needs to focus on serious solutions. Council has, until recent months appeared far too content to accept the word of Administration. However for the past few months, several of those recommendations have been overridden by Council. Perhaps some on Council are starting to feel the mood of many citizens as the civic election draws near?
For the Youth Centre, the task of going forward is seen as very important, for the youth. The recommendation from Administration appeared to not realize that without Youth Centres Thunder Bay the overall Youth Strategy has no hill to plant a flag of success atop.
The City has been talking the game loudly on the importance of Youth. Last night, City Council proved that on that area, they are willing to listen more to the people, than to administration. In this case it is a good move.
The Youth Centre in the Chapple Building has proven a success. Administration appeared willing to pull out completely. It took the calm common sense voices of youth to get Council to give them a couple of more months.
Lets hope come July, when the summer starts that Council continues to support the youth.