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Pictou Youth Centre open for business


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David Porter, left, Nick Bray and Town of Pictou Deputy Mayor Lynn Vigneault officially open the Pictou Youth Centre on Saturday. The centre will feature billiards, ping-pong, air hockey, healthy eating and potentially, restorative justice program through the RCMP.

PICTOU – It’s been about ten months since Nick Bray and a friend stood up at a town candidates meeting in Pictou to ask about a skate park in town. On Saturday, Nick, many adult volunteers and the youth of Pictou got a little closer to their goal.

After the ceremonial passing of the key from Deputy Mayor Lynn Vigneault to youth centre champion David Porter on to Bray, the Pictou Youth Centre was officially declared open.

“Around town there’s not much for youth to do,” said 13-year-old Bray. “We were tired of being told to get lost and skate somewhere else so we wanted a place to call our own.”

Saturday marked the first Youth Fest, held in the field beside Carver’s Pub on Caladh Avenue. All the funds raised from the event went to the Pictou Youth Centre and the proposed skateboard park.

At 5 p.m., some of the day’s participants and youth marched and skated on boards and scooters to the new Pictou Youth Centre at the former CN Station to mark the official opening.

Ashley George, who was selling BBM Skateboard gear at the fest, noted that the skate park and youth centre committee are one in the same with the youth as their focus.

“We’re trying to build a more permanent skate park in Brodie Park,” said George. “So far we’ve raised over $10,000 out of the $150,000 needed for a concrete park.”

He noted that skate parks existed in the area in the early 1990s but the non-permanent wood and metal structures didn’t last.

The fest also included entertainment, with performances by Ashley George, Kelsey Karr Johnston and Dan Baird, Bruce Holton, Ward Brubaker, Country Jammers, Jarrett Poirier and Klorrisa Farnsworth, who performs with the French Connection.

David Porter has been working to get a youth centre in Pictou for the last few years and said the newly opened centre will help get youth off the streets.

“We’re working with the RCMP to have a restorative justice component,” he said. “We’ll have healthy foods at the canteen, cooking classes for those heading to college or university.”

Porter noted the youth favorites such as billiards, ping pong and air hockey will be available.

The town owns the building and has negotiated a user agreement with the youth centre. Porter noted that costs and fees, such as insurance, would total up to $26,000 per year but has been covered by Carver’s Coffee House, the Pictou Lions Club and the Town of Pictou.

Brent Minshull of Carver’s said he got involved when the committee for the youth centre and skate park began meeting in the coffee house.

“I know the youth of Pictou need a safe place to go and hang out,” said Minshull. “If we can give them something to do and somewhere to do it, we will.”

The Youth Fest featured a craft fair that included homemade jewelry, cards, antiques, fresh sweet treats, fresh produce and products from Sunset Gourmet and Sensi candles.

A barbecue, silent auction and lemonade sales also took place throughout the day. The majority of the items in the silent auction were donated by Treasurers of Distinction. The owner, Myrna McMullen, was responsible for organizing the craft fair and music.

 

john.brannen@ngnews.ca

On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn

 

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