By Bronwyn Scott
Published: June 20, 2013
Under a white tent on Fourth Avenue and Victoria Street on Monday, June 17th, about 100 people raised their glasses to celebrate the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation’s donation of $300,000 to help build Centrepoint.
At the future site of the planned Sea to Sky Community Services building, the floor layout was marked and guided visitors through a tour of the services and housing facility.
Starting at the reception, guests moved on to learn about the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation Learning and Community Hall, so called in recognition of their donation, which was the first to the capital campaign, although a $250,000 donation from Squamish Savings was announced previously, on May 29th.
From there, guests made their way to the chalked out offices space, community living programs, family programs and affordable housing, and eventually, to the tenth stop, the “patio,” where champagne and appetizers were served to mark the announcement.
Centrepoint is a partnership between Sea to Sky Community Services (SSCS) and Squamish United Church, which is donating land for the project. A new church will be built to replace the current structure, built about 80 years ago, according to Karen Millard, minister of the United Church.
Currently Sea to Sky Community Services doesn’t own any property and bringing all the services under one roof will save the society about $200,000 each year in what would otherwise be spent on rent, said Jackie Faulkner, manager of outreach services.
Instead, that money will go towards a mortgage, she explained, an asset that will eventually help put money back into the programs.
“It’s exciting for us because the office space that we have right now is cramped, there’s a lot of shared offices,” said Faulkner. “It’s just exciting for our staff to know that they’re going to have space that isn’t storage, that they can actually use as an efficient workspace.”
Meanwhile, on Second Avenue, Community Living Services is “bursting at the seams,” according to Donna Bent, Manager for Community Living Services.
Outreach Services has also been struggling in recent years, trying to find a large enough, affordable space, according to said Jan Oberson, Director of outreach services.
If fundraising goes well, site works will begin in the winter. Construction is expected to take 15 months to 18 months, according to Estelle Taylor, capital campaign coordinator of Sea to Sky Community Services.
The completed facility will span five city lots.