A change in provincial government contracts has put the future of the Nelson and District Youth Centre in question.
“I think it’s time to sit down and look at the youth centre and what it means to this community,” said Mayor John Dooley at Monday’s committee of the whole meeting.
“Clearly the people that make these decisions make them and then don’t back it up with funding.”
Dooley’s comments came after the Youth Centre manager Christine Schmidt announced that there would be nearly a $200,000 difference in the funds received from the province through the youth employment contract.
“On December 31, 2011 the Youth Employment Reserve Centre contract ended,” said Schmidt. “The Nelson and District Youth Centre closed the Employment Reserve Centre and we were successful in the bid for the new employment strategy. On April 1, we will re-open a youth employment centre.”
The change has led to the Youth Centre coming to the city for over $100,000.
The approach of the new youth employment centre will be less formal and less of a “one stop shop,” due to a new case management system.
The new provincially funded program provides a maximum of approximately $68,000 based on a quota of cases served.
If the youth centre provides does not meet that quota they will not receive the total amount.
“That’s a lot of uncertainty,” said city councillor Donna Macdonald.
But Dooley expressed frustration with the dependency on senior government funding.
“Going forward I really think we’re hanging our hat on the wrong hook,” he said.
Dooley suggested potentially amalgamating the services with the recreation commission.
Other councillors and staff said that the budget talks were not necessarily an appropriate time to discuss the future of the Youth Centre.
But Dooley said “We are in a very challenging time. Looking at this budget now, there’s going to be changes.”
There was some relief to the Youth Centre budget from a federal contract for the Skills Link program but Schmidt due to the process of applying for the contract this year she was uncertain whether or not they would get the contract again in 2013.