Thunder Bay youth centre plans

The proposed plans for a youth centre at the former Prosvita Hall in Thunder Bay include adding on the the existing building. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

City councillors in Thunder Bay approved a draft plan Monday night to convert the Port Arthur Prosvita into a youth centre — but the move has some neighbours worried.

Nearby resident Michael Lemesani said he supports a youth centre, but he doesn't want the Thunder Bay Indian Friendship Centre moving into the Prosvita Hall.

He said other planned expansions — billed as “other programming” and “family resources” — concern him.

"Basically it's a lot of programs dealing with youth justice,” Lemesani said.

“There are individual Aboriginal youth drug programs [and] adult drug programs."

Prosvita Hall

Thunder Bay's Indian Friendship Centre wants to redevelop the former Prosvita Hall on South High Street into an inclusive centre for youth. (Gord Ellis/CBC)

But his concerns fell on deaf ears.

Paul Pugh said the proposed youth centre — and other programming — would be a benefit for the area.

"Young people should be in the city. They should be in neighbourhoods,” he said.

“They shouldn't be put out in the middle of nowhere."

Other councillors shared concerns the Friendship Centre only presented one option for locations to council.

Councillor Mark Bentz asked: "What are the other options? Whenever you spend that much money, you should be looking at various options, or at least projecting what the options would look like."

The Friendship Centre has asked the city to contribute two and a half million dollars to the project. Council will debate a final report on the matter early next year.


Other council business

  • Council approved an update of the Thunder Bay Poverty Reduction Strategy.
  • The annual Family Medicine Awards were handed out.
  • Council recognized a group of Youth Bowlers as Citizens of Exceptional Achievement.
  • Council also approved a resolution, behind closed doors, with respect to Resolute mill's property tax reassessment. City manager Tim Commisso said the city will attend the Assessment Review Board hearing scheduled for late January. He hinted that a drop in the assessment could lower the city’s tax revenue by one per cent.