Pemberton Youth Centre needs money 

Fire safety issues still to be resolved

With a building inspection out of the way, the new Pemberton Youth Centre needs money so that it can finally open its doors.
The youth centre, which has taken over the old library building and sits adjacent to the new Pemberton Community Centre, is expected to replace a youth lounge at the old community centre on Pemberton Meadows Road.
The building was renovated last August but before it can open, the Village of Pemberton and Squamish-Lillooet Regional District are looking for up to $5,000 to install fire and other safety equipment.
"The building inspector has identified that there is a requirement for a fire alarm, pull stations and a bell," said Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy, adding that emergency lighting is also needed.
"The building inspector considers those to be life safety issues... We're getting an estimate for the amount of money that will cost, and we'll be looking for donations to fund that."
Though completed last August, the new youth centre hasn't opened because up until last week the VOP didn't have its own building inspector. The village had contracted an inspector but that person could only focus on Pemberton duties once a week.
That all changed with the hiring of Richard Nicholas, who will join the Village on Feb. 2 as both manager of community services and building inspector. The village had been seeking an inspector since June.
The youth centre was developed as the Village of Pemberton was seeking ideas for a project to fulfill an Olympic LiveSite grant, money from the provincial government that helps communities obtain audio/visual equipment for viewing the Olympic Games.
The village and the SLRD realized that the existing youth centre, which sits on the Pemberton Meadows Road, was not in an ideal location.
"It was not really about the future and it was more about the past," Sturdy said. "We came up with the project of taking the old library building.
"We had a choice to make, we could tear it down or we could re-use it, so we chose to recycle it. So we moved it, because it was in a location that the community centre was going to straddle, so we moved it a couple hundred feet, built some foundations, put some foundations in and brought it up to the flood construction level."
Sturdy feels the new location, a well-lit area close to most of Pemberton's shops and amenities, is a much better one.
"I've seen situations where they had the youth centres and they're stuck out in the woods somewhere or in the middle of nowhere," he said. "I think this location will let the youth know that they're foremost in our minds in terms of being in the middle of things."
Geoff Pross, coordinator of the existing youth centre and a youth outreach worker for the Howe Sound School District, said in an interview that he hopes to incorporate an "alternative education" program at the new centre.
That program could involve taking capable students who don't really function in the regular school system and educating them using computer programs such as GarageBand, a program that can help people learn how to play and compose music.
The Pemberton and District Health Care Foundation has donated $2,000 towards new computers to help with that alternative education program.
But location, too, is an asset of the new centre.
"It's walking distance from all the schools," he said. "Youth workers, counselors who want to take students out of the school context, give them one on one counseling or just somewhere to go to hang out that's not the school, it's amazing the difference that can make."
Until the new centre opens, the old one is still up and running. There's video games, computers, an air hockey table and plenty of other things. Drop in hours on Thursdays are from after school to 6 p.m.; Fridays from after school to 11 p.m. Saturday hours are 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

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