Funding requested for local youth centre in city

WHITE ROCK – A group of local youths arrived at White Rock council Monday to make the case for funding of a local youth centre, citing a lack of available services for the area’s younger

demographics. Members from the South Surrey/White Rock Alexandra Neighbourhood House appeared before council to present a case that would see the city supporting a third of the cost of a youth centre, in partnership with Surrey and other donors.

Jessie Kergan, a worker with the group’s Youth Collective initiative said there was lack of options for local area youth.

“We looked at the gaps in services for youth in White Rock,” said Kergan. “Most are sports-related that cost money, there are some in arts but there’s no drop-in space and none that that are low cost.

“Looking at White Rock’s population, 20 per cent are youth, 28 per cent are seniors… and seniors have three centres and youth have no space,” she said.

The group also took a look at what local activities were available and noted 63 per cent were geared towards adults, with only three per cent aimed specifically at youth.

Kergan said they were proposing a local drop-in space that would support youth who don’t want to do just sports, one that would enable them to work on art, music and hold various other workshops.

The Youth Collective group also intends to make the same request to Surrey City Council and is hoping for a three-way funding split for the space, estimated to cost a total of $28,000 per year.

However, concerns were raised by council over the proposed funding method as it was noted White Rock would not be able to match Surrey in terms of equal funding, due to the sheer size difference between the municipalities.

“I think it’s a little bit much to expect the cities of White Rock and Surrey to contribute the same amount,” said Coun. Helen Fathers.

Coun. Louise Hutchinson said she enjoyed seeing the enthusiasm of youth in the city and asked about the Kent Street Activity Centre, but the youth said there was not much transit service out to that part of town.

Mayor Wayne Baldwin thanked the group for attending and asked them to look at their numbers again to rethink the equal split with Surrey. Baldwin said city staff would look into what they could do for the youths.

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