Old fire bays less than ideal for a youth centre

Local youth are still gung-ho about a proposed youth centre, but the town’s old fire hall bays may no longer be an option.

  • Jun. 20, 2011 1:00 p.m.
Cowichan Lake Community Services counsellor Becca Shears and Kelsey Johnston present their case for a youth centre in the Town of Lake Cowichan

Cowichan Lake Community Services counsellor Becca Shears and Kelsey Johnston present their case for a youth centre in the Town of Lake Cowichan

Local youth are still gung-ho about a proposed youth centre, but the town’s old fire hall bays may no longer be an option.

Citing an inspection report done on the Municipal Hall’s old fire hall bays, the town’s chief administrative officer told a group of delegates that the area might not even be safe, during a Tuesday, June 14, town committee meeting.

“The slightest seismic problem will cause grief,” he warned.

Fernandez also said that the group could do a lot better than the grungy fire hall bays, which have a known rodent infestation problem.

Un-phased, the delegates said that they’re willing to look into other options.

“We would like to see something happen, and a space being used. Let’s locate a space that can be used,” Cowichan Lake Community Services counsellor Darlene Tully encouraged.

Community Services has recently partnered with the Town of Lake Cowichan to get a youth centre up and going in the town, after having been looking into the project over the past seven years.

“Let’s kick it off, and show that we’re seriously behind this,” counsellor Becca Shears said, adding that she’d like to see things going by this summer.

In addition to counsellors Tully and Shears, a group of 10 youth attended the town’s June 14 meeting, to show their support for the project.

The youth were headed by Lake Cowichan Secondary School Grade 12 student Kelsey Johnston, who spoke on their behalf.

“As teenagers, we just don’t have anything to do,” she said.

Having talked to a number of older residents, she said that there was plenty of things for youth to occupy their time with during the town’s heyday. This is no longer the case.

“We were all young once,” councillor Tim McGonigle said.

“We got in trouble, but we had a lot of things to keep us occupied… We are totally behind the concept of a youth centre.”

“I don’t think the fire hall bays are good for you, but I do want this to happen,” mayor Ross Forrest said. “We used to have more things in this town to do… It’s time to see things get moving on this.”

The old fire hall bays would only be a temporary solution, if used at all. The decision lies in council’s hands.

For now, a more permanent solution is still being sought. Community Services will be looking into a few other solutions in the very near future, in order to kick-start the youth group before summer vacations start taking kids out of town.

Whatever location is selected, it will be treated with respect, Johnston said.

“Who’s going to trash something that they put effort into?” she asked.