Westbank First Nation will open its new $5.5 million youth centre Friday.
The centre, located beside the WFN community centre and Sensysusten school on Quail Lane on the WFN’s Westside reserve, is a new 13,000-square-foot purpose built facility that replaces the WFN’s former 2,100-square-foot youth centre that opened in 1998.
That building was bought second hand-hand and moved to Quail Lane 19 year ago but has long been considered too small for the needs of the growing community.
Since 1998, the Central Okanagan’s population has grown from an estimated 148,799 to 201,746 and WFN’s population has more than doubled from 400 members in 1998 to 840 today.
The new centre will be open to both aboriginal and non-aboriginal youth and is equipped with features such as passive ventilation, an outdoor kitchen, as well an outdoor classroom and amphitheatre, green screens and branch screens. It was built with wood from the WFN’s community forest.
The building contains 10 offices, space for the WFN’s after-school program, as well as space for youth programs and services, early-year education programs and space for elders to gather and interact with youths.
Use of the previous youth centre had long exceeded capacity, says the WFN, with programs gaining popularity throughout the growing community.
The opening ceremony is scheduled for Friday at 4 p.m.