By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Advance
Five members of the group pushing to open a youth centre in Castor appeared before Town council as a delegation during the Nov. 25th council meeting.
The group has been searching for a home in Castor for the last few months in the hopes that a centre could provide something for youth to do in the community.
“We desire a place where young people can gather in a fun, safe, welcoming, inclusive atmosphere,” said Brent Siemens, one of the board members for the fledgling group.
Siemens, who formerly ran the youth drop-in centre in Herbert, Sask., spoke about the history of Castor, and how there used to be, “Lots of things for young people to do.”
Things to do in Castor used to include a pool hall on Main Street and a movie theatre which once sat in the vacant lot beside Home Hardware.
“These things are gradually disappearing,” said Siemens. “I’m grateful that we still have sports facilities, but these things have largely disappeared.”
The plan for the drop-in centre would be to have televisions, gaming consoles, pool tables, and possibly even a gym area, as well as holding theme nights, and ‘inter-generational’ activities such as floor curling or bingo with the members of the Golden Circle.
The committee is requesting that the Town rent them the old fire hall once the fire service moves to its new quarters at the edge of town sometime next year, for the cost of monthly utilities, at approximately $750 a month.
To date, support for the youth drop-in centre has been promising with over $15,000 pledged to help start up the project, and a commitment from the County to fund around $3,000 a year once it is operational.
In the request to council, the youth committee also requested that if approved that the Town would keep liability insurance on the building, however the youth centre would fund its own social insurance, at the cost of between $2,500 to $5,000 a year.
When operational, the centre would be operated by volunteer youth members who would be responsible for opening, closing, and cleaning duties.
“There would be youth ownership, and youth accountability,” said committee member Janessa Dunkle.
“Volunteerism is a dying art. Yet we have so many youths pledging time and money to make this happen. It’s giving young people a purpose and a sense of community.”
The members of council accepted the presentation as information and will discuss the proposal at an upcoming meeting.
There will only be one meeting of council in December, on Dec. 16th.
Prior to the December meeting, the Town will be hosting a public forum on a procedural bylaw which has already passed first reading, beginning at 6:45 p.m.
Other highlights of the Nov. 26th meeting:
• The council code of conduct bylaw has been repealed and replaced with one with updated language, more in line with the requirements of the Municipal Government Act.
• The CAO bylaw has been amended to bring it in line with Municipal Government Act requirements.
• Town gas system losses have increased slightly, to .84 per cent loss.
• Town water system losses have decreased to 19.5 per cent.
• The Town has received two snow-related complaints. Due to one of the complaints, and other factors, the decision has been made to windrow and haul the snow on 51st St. between 49th and 51st Ave.
Both complaints will receive a letter back from the Town.
• Council has received a request for gravel in a right of way being used as a back alley. The portion of the right of way does not belong to the Town. The request has been tabled for review in the spring.
• Council has received an update from the Paintearth Wind Project. It is expecting regulatory approval in 2020 and will see a 42-turbine project placed in the County just north of Sullivan lake, south of Hwy. 12.
• The Town has agreed to terms on a facility user agreement between the Town, Castor Municipal Library, and Paintearth Community Adult Learning.