By MICHAEL QUIGLEY with ROY HALES
In our last column, we pointed out that there will soon be a somewhat alarming situation with regard to facilities for Maple Ridge’s young people, a near-majority of this community’s population. According to the Maple Ridge Study, the next ten years will see a need for an increase in facilities for people in their teenage years.
After considerable discussion with various people, we considered that a Centre for young people in the form of a coffee house, perhaps with adjoining rooms for discussion groups, reading and so forth, might be a temporary solution to this problem, or at least a beginning to a solution. A coffee house type of arrangement would provide a place for young people to sit, talk and be themselves, and would also provide a place where they could use any additional facilities and could be entertained by music such as folk singing.
Looking for a suitable place for the Centre, we approached Reverend John Taylor of St. George’s Anglican Church and inquired about the possible use of that church’s basement for the Centre, mainly because of its central location. Reverend Taylor expressed interest in the project, as did the members of the church committee with which negotiations for the use of the basement are currently under way.
Other members of the community were also inter-ested. Alderman Reg Franklin supported the idea of a centre, while commenting that he wished more people in Maple Ridge would get involved in similar community projects. Mayor Peter Jenewein and Staff Sergeant of the Haney RCMP also thought the idea a good one, though they both wanted to see the Centre in action.
As well, we spoke to several local clergymen, whose responses were mainly in favour of the Centre. Reverend Jongsma of the First Christian Reformed Church said he would help us in any way possible. Another reverend thought the idea was good, though he declined support as we hadn’t a “good enough purpose” and as there could be “no purpose except through Christ,” a view which we respect, but nevertheless find a bit confusing.
When negotiations with St. George’s church committee are finalized, we hope to have the coffee house, tentatively named “The Prism,” open within the next two weeks. An organizing committee for the Centre is currently investigating different aspects of its projected operation.
We hope that this Centre, if it is successful, may prove to be only a temporary project and that our community leaders will eventually take action to provide or build a similar permanent centre for young people, which will adequately meet the needs of Maple Ridge’s growing young population in the future.
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