The Slocan Valley Youth Centre will be closed all of next month. Photo: Greg Nesteroff

B.C. youth centre to close in September due to ‘intoxication, bullying and vandalism

The Slocan centre will focus on making programming changes

The Slocan Valley Youth Centre will close for September so staff can address what they call an “increase in intoxication, bullying and vandalism” at the centre and in the community.

A statement dated Aug. 21 from the W.E. Graham Community Service Society board of directors said the Slocan centre will shut down from Sept. 1 to Oct. 1 while programming changes are made.

“The programming needs to be redirected to create a more positive experience for youth and the greater community,” said the statement.

Executive director Miryam Bishop declined to tell the Star if there were specific examples of behaviour that led to the decision. The break, she said, will help staff re-evaluate the centre’s services.

“We just want to take a pause basically to have time to make these changes so we can support the changing needs of the youth and the community,” said Bishop.

While the specifics of the programming changes aren’t yet known, Bishop said an extra room will be added to the building, which sits next to W.E. Graham Elementary.

The centre, which opened in 1997, offers drop-in hours for youth aged 12 to 18 from 7 to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

Slocan Mayor Jessica Lunn said she doesn’t believe there has been an increase in intoxication or vandalism within the village or the surrounding area, but she supports the youth centre’s desire to reconsider its services.

“With young people in general, in every community we want to make sure we are supporting our youth, that they have positive activities to engage in,” said Lunn.

“I think the youth centre has done a great job so far and I think there’s an increased popularity for youth from the whole valley to come to the centre, so I think it’s great they are looking at their programming.”

Related: VIDEO: Nelson youth centre unveils B.C.’s largest indoor skate park



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