City gifts YES Project $400K

The City of Penticton is stepping up with $400,000 to support the YES Project’s purchase of a downtown building for a new youth centre in the community.

City councillors voted to fulfill the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan’s grant request Thursday afternoon during 2018 budget talks.

The draft budget suggested $300,000 in funding over 2017/18, but councillors Picton, Martin, Sentes and Sayeed voted to provide the full $400,000 to be offset by a .33 per cent property tax increase above the originally proposed three per cent bump.

“I don’t see this as an investment, I see it as a protection of our next generation,” Sayeed said. “A .33 tax increase… the community will accept it.”

Picton echoed Sayeed, adding that spending money on local youth now will pay off down the road.

“This to me is an investment that could help even reduce the need for the other grants we fund. If we invest into the youth, we catch some of these issues and problems early on.”

The centre will act as a one-stop shop for youth services providing mental health support, basic needs and offering a safe place for youth in the area.

CFSO executive director Aaron McRann said he's “happy council sees the need” for the centre.

“Will be able to move forward that much quicker,” he said. "Very exciting."

Subjects will be removed on the sale of the 21,000 square foot property at 501 Main St. on Dec. 15.

McRann said they remain on schedule to purchase the building with financing, which he noted “wasn’t ideal,” because the mortgage will detract from programming.

A public fundraising campaign to help with that mortgage will be launched shortly.


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