Coquitlam youth get space to play
Coquitlam kicked off Youth Week festivities by opening by a new youth centre at the Centennial Pavilion.
On Wednesday afternoon, a crowd of teenagers got to enjoy live music — the louder the better — and an after-school snack of hot dogs and cookies as well as a chance to try all the new gear at the youth centre, including pool and foosball tables, air hockey and even a Nintendo Wii gaming system.
Located in the former Chimo pool lobby at 620 Poirier St. (across from Centennial secondary), the youth centre has been relocated from its former home in the basement of the Poirier rec centre.
"It wasn't the right place where youth could come and feel welcome," Coquitlam's community recreation manager, Mary Morrison-Clark, said of the old location. "We liked the visibility of this place, it's across from the high school and it sends a message... that we value our youth, we want to see you, we want to engage with you and we want to hear what you have to say, so let's put you in a place where that can happen."
The relocation has been a multi-generational project between youths and members of the Dogwood and Glen Pine pavilion advisory boards, who were also on hand to see the results of their partnership with the younger generation.
Glen Pine members donated the pool table (as well as one for the Pinetree youth centre) and Dogwood woodworkers crafted stools and a bar-height counter at which kids can hang out.
The new location works well, Morrison-Clark said, because activity at the youth centre will be gearing up as Dogwood users are typically winding down for the day.
Youth Centre worker Dave Grender said local teens can drop by to hang out or take part in special events such as movie nights, skateboarding sessions on the portable ramp or girls-only nights.
Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart said he was "ecstatic" with the new youth centre.
"Thirty years ago, we had a lot of youth challenges up here; it wasn't bad youth, it was just youth with no place to go," he said. "The lobby of the Chimo pool was a hang-out for kids with no place to go and it caused a lot of problems. Now here we are, in the repurposed lobby of the Chimo pool."
The youth centre is open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 2:45 to 6:45 p.m., Fridays from 2:45 to 10 p.m. and Saturdays from 6 to 10 p.m.
Additional Youth Week activities are on until Monday.