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New Youth Centre Pilot Project to Open in Thunder Bay

An 18-month pilot project will see a new Youth Centre created this fall in Thunder Bay. A new organization “Youth Centres Thunder Bay” will locate temporarily in leased space within Victoriaville Mall. The operation will be a joint project with Youth Centres Thunder Bay, Wasaya Group Inc. and the City of Thunder Bay.

“This will be an exciting and dynamic space for teens,” said Pierre Mapeso, Chair of Youth Centres Thunder Bay. “It’s a place for them to socialize, connect and grow”.

During the initial 18-month pilot, Youth Centres Thunder Bay will create a long-term business plan that includes funding and partnerships opportunities to develop a long-term youth centre.

Operating and facility expenses for the pilot are estimated at $80,000 and will be shared equally by the City of Thunder Bay and Wasaya Group Inc. The City has also dedicated a one-time contribution of $20,000 for start-up costs. Oversight and facility coordination will be managed by the City in cooperation with the new organization.

“Today, by our partnership in this Youth Centre Project, we take a positive step forward in providing a safe environment for our Youth to participate in,” said Tom S. Kamenawatamin, President and CEO of the Wasaya Group. “By doing so, we let them know that there are caring people here in the region who support their hopes, dreams, their future careers and that we will continue to strongly advocate for their wellbeing.”

“The project fits with the vision developed by youth and community partners,” said Gerrit Wesselink, Chair of the City of Thunder Bay Youth Services Advisory Committee, adding that the Committee is in support of the new centre.

Youth Centres Thunder Bay will base the planning, program delivery and operation on best practices identified by Youth Centres Canada. They will continue to work toward the youth centre model and community vision developed through the Youth Services Advisory Committee Working Group.

This pilot project creates a unique opportunity for the City to work with partners in piloting a model for youth services delivery and, if successful, lays the foundation for a future long-term youth centre.

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Contact:  Beverly Ball, Manager – Recreation & Culture, City of Thunder Bay, 625-2368
               Pierre Mapeso, Chair – Youth Centres Thunder Bay, 252-3966
               MaryEllen Thomas, Wasaya Group Inc., 475-9576