Why does West Vancouver need a Youth Centre? What is the benefit to the community?

    West Vancouver’s youth are a diverse group of residents with unique needs. Municipal youth services provide these residents with access to information and resources that support improving their overall health and well-being. The Youth Services staff team helps youth develop knowledge and skills, and learn to manage emotions and relationships. 

    The District provides a broad range of programs and services that help build a community of young people who are connected, aware, and informed. These services are inclusive, primarily preventative, and use a community-based approach to provide age-appropriate services ranging from recreation programs, activities, special events, and one-to-one support and referrals.

    What is a Youth Hub Model?

    A physical, centrally located Youth Hub is important for West Vancouver youth to feel connected and cared for in their community. 

    A Youth Hub is a free drop-in centre for youth to spend time with their friends in a safe and supervised setting. It also serves as an access point for other programs and services provided by Youth Services. This vision includes the opportunity for other youth service providers to enhance District-offered programs and to maximize opportunities for youth support and community engagement in West Vancouver. The Youth Hub concept is a unique model where a variety of services can be provided to youth under one roof with the vision to support youth in West Vancouver for decades.

    What was Ambleside Youth Centre used for? Why do we need to replace it?

    The former Youth Centre provided a dedicated, safe space for youth in grades eight through 12 to connect with their peers and support staff through:

    • Drop-in centre open 22 hours per week 
    • programs developed for youth to support health and wellness, cultural connection, life skills, food and nutrition, social connectedness, and community engagement
    • employment training 
    • one-to-one support provided to youth and their families by Youth Outreach Workers
    • services provided by community partners e.g. SPCA summer camps, Rockridge Secondary School leadership program, community forums, North Shore Multicultural Society teen nights, North Shore Disability Resource Centre teen nights and Gleneagles Golf Society junior golf tournament wrap-up events
    • office space for Youth Outreach Workers

    Why add another facility or space at all, why can’t you just move all programs and services that ran out of Ambleside Youth Centre to other existing facilities?

    This approach has already been implemented and proved insufficient to support the needs of West Vancouver’s youth. When the Ambleside Youth Centre (AYC) closed, District staff immediately relocated as many programs and services as possible to other existing spaces in the District. After 8 months, the following gaps were clear: 

    • The hours of operation at the WVCC Youth Lounge were increased, but there was no increased attendance by youth in grades 8 to 12, which was AYC’s target age group. Through discussions with youth, Youth Outreach Workers and Youth Leaders learned that many of the youth who attended AYC don’t feel the same level of comfort, safety and autonomy in the Youth Lounge as they did at AYC.
    • The temporary space in the Music Box is not ideal as a drop-in location for youth. Youth told staff that, while the location is optimal, the space is small and does not work well for drop-ins. The space is also not available to youth year-round because it is primarily an Arts & Culture space and is used as Harmony Arts headquarters.
    • Without the space provided by AYC, there are no places for certain youth activities, like engagement on issues such as the West Vancouver Foundation’s Vital Signs Conversations, the Horseshoe Bay Local Area Plan and the District’s OCP. Staff heard from youth that these community dialogues need to happen in safe, youth-friendly environments such as dedicated youth spaces in order to facilitate truly open and meaningful discussions. 
    • Flicks and Forum is a regular youth-led event where youth host a community movie and discussion around an important social issue. This event was relocated to the Gleneagles Clubhouse in 2019, however, youth faced many challenges in engaging their peers to attend this event due to the distance from the Ambleside area and the limited bus service to Gleneagles Community Centre. 
    • The lack of consistent, dedicated spaces for confidential one-to-one meetings between Youth Outreach Workers and youth and their families has been challenging.
    • The lack of suitable space means that the District can only offer a limited number of social, recreation and leadership development programs for preteens and youth. This is an area that has been growing over the years and has the potential to be a new source of revenue in the future.

    Why was a School District site not considered?

    A location within the school district was considered, however, it is used as a school during the day and is only available to youth programming outside of school hours. A youth hub model needs space to be available during the day. 

    The school site is not a central area, making it difficult for most youth to access. It is also in a residential area, which means it is not ideal for late-night programs. 

    A school site could be considered as a satellite option for use during school breaks for youth programs/summer camps.

    Why not just stay where we are?

    The current space at Park Royal has been working really well, especially during Covid when restrictions have been in place. However, it is not large enough to host events such as gig nights, holiday dinners, etc. This space is leased at a below-market rate, which means we could be relocated at any time by Park Royal.  

    How many youth spaces do we have in the community?

    The Youth Hub at Park Royal South 

    The Youth Hub is a place to hang out, watch movies, play pool, volunteer at the concession, or participate in the popular cook nights. Youth leaders supervise the Youth Hub, providing a supportive atmosphere for youth in grades 8 to 12.

     Youth Lounge at West Vancouver Community Centre 

    The Youth Lounge (YL) is a place to spend time with friends, meet new people, or play pool, ping pong, or foosball. Youth leaders supervise the Youth Lounge and can connect preteens and youth in grades 6 to 12 to volunteer opportunities, youth-led community groups, and important resources and information.

    The Bay Scene at Gleneagles Community Centre 

    The Bay Scene is a place for pre-teens to hang out and visit with friends. Youth leaders supervise youth in grades 6 and 7 while they play sports and games, watch movies, and more.

    Room 14 at West Vancouver Memorial Library 

    A room designed for youth in grades 8–12 to relax with friends or catch up on homework.

    Is this project included in the Official Community Plan?

    Yes, the Official Community Plan provides for the continued provision of a Youth Services Hub. The project supports the following policies: 

    Supporting demographic and cultural diversity 

    2.8.1 Anticipate and meet community needs as demographic changes occur, through short and long-term strategies for the delivery of services. 

    2.8.3 Improve access to services and resources for youth, seniors and persons with disabilities, including considerations for improved walking, cycling and transit connections and shuttle services. 

    2.8.5 Provide services, programs and facilities to support children, youth and families in meeting their diverse needs and foster their sense of belonging. 

    Enhancing public facilities and spaces 

    2.8.9 Maintain and optimize existing civic facility (e.g., community centres and libraries) and manage space flexibly or potentially expand to meet changing needs.

    2.8.10 Seek opportunities to incorporate community and social service uses into private and public buildings in central, transit-accessible areas where possible.

    2.8.11 Support the continual provision of community hubs (e.g., Child and Family Hub and Youth Services Hub) and explore the potential for neighbourhood hubs based on community partnerships.

    How much is a new Youth Hub going to cost?

    Capital costs would be higher to build a replacement facility in Ambleside Park, although operating costs would be higher in a long-term lease space in Park Royal Mall. Costs noted here are Class D estimates, which are high-level and allow for a +/- 25% accuracy.  

    New Build
    Capital Costs (including Project Costs)  
    10-Year Life Cycle Cost
    20-Year Life Cycle Cost
    30-Year Life Cycle Cost

    Is the Park Royal space well-used? How many youth attend?

    The Ambleside Youth Centre was approximately three times the size of the current leased space at Park Royal and able to host multiple programs at a time, whereas the current leased space can only accommodate one program at a time. The Park Royal space also has space limitations as a result of COVID-19 precautions. Nevertheless, the Park Royal space is still well-used by youth.

    • Up to 40 youth attend during drop-in hours each week (open 12 hours per week)
    • Every week, between 5 and 50 youth attend specialized group programs and events 
    • In October 2021, youth outreach staff provided one-to-one support to 62 youth from the space