The James Street entrance to the Cowichan Community Centre. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Community centre to welcome Cowichan Valley Youth Services as tenants

It’s been a project executive director Michelle Bell says she’s been working on for years and now it’s almost official. Her Cowichan Valley Youth Services Society (CVYS) will move into a portion of the former Aquannis Centre wing of the Cowichan Community Centre.

Eventually that is.

The area, which fronts James Street, is currently occupied by the Duncan Dynamics gymnastics club, and the CVRD’s youth drop-in centre, as well as offices, and storage. The space will be reconfigured to retain the gymnastics space and drop-in centre, as well as offices and a new CVYS space.

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At its July meeting, the CVRD board decided to move ahead with the project and sign a memorandum of understanding with CVYS.

“This MOU will be the foundation to create a long-term agreement that will enable us to work with Cowichan Valley Youth Services to ensure they have adequate space to deliver programming for youth and families in our communities,” said CVRD chair Ian Morrison. “We view this as a solid step towards increasing the services available in the Cowichan Community Centre.”

Increasing the services available to youth is what it’s all about, said Bell.

“We’re a free youth service for individual and family counselling and we have various groups that run at our service and do outreach,” Bell said. “That stuff is going to continue. But the hope is that we’re going to have access to the community kitchen so that we can bring in some components for nutrition and cooking and also the front of the facility has a drop-in so we hope to revitalize that.”

CVYS doesn’t currently have an active youth drop-in space.

“We’re just trying to be a little bit more accessible and visible.”

Bell also hopes the new space will act as a hub or bridge to connect others with integrated services.

“If we offer that partnership or collaboration, other people can offer services so that we can create more opportunities for people to do more. We hope to just create a bigger menu of what we offer.”

The next steps are drafting a project agreement and concept design to determine what the price tag will be and then to actively fundraise, Bell said.

The changes are not expected to change or disrupt the CVRD’s regular recreation programming.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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