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PCFSA is excited for the big move!

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Family service provider excited about upcoming move

New building will allow for more privacy in counseling sessions

When they build it, youth will come. ‘It’ is a new
purpose-built 14,000-square-foot building, the new home for the Pacific
Centre Family Services Association.

 

Executive director Mitzi Dean said the beneficiaries won’t just be the people
working there, but those who are coming there to access their services.

“I have a vision of the area being a wellness sanctuary of regional
significance for the community,” Dean said. “It is desperately needed
because (the West Shore) is growing so fast and our families need good
quality services that are affordable and accessible.”

The association parlayed the sale of the Havenwood estate on Heatherbell Road (currently housing the Coast Collective Arts Centre) seven years ago into the purchase of the two-acre property on the Colwood side of Goldstream Avenue, directly behind their current space on 345 Wale Rd.

The project will include a connector for the Galloping Goose Trail, which
runs alongside the property line between the two roads. Dean said they
expect to break ground in 2016, move in 2017 and celebrate their 50th
anniversary in 2018.

“It will really improve our quality of service, maintaining consistency of available counselling
space. Many times (counsellors) have to share space,” she said. “(Soon)
we can tailor choice and preference and constancy and stability for the
people we serve. It will be best designed to be able to fulfil their
function (instead of) working through logistics that (the current
building) isn’t ideally suited for.”

The approximately 4,500-square-foot space the association operates out of in
the West Shore Child, Youth and Family Centre will continue to house
some of its programming, even after it occupies the 7,500-square-foot
second floor of the new building.

The rest of the new space will be rented out to partners whose missions align with theirs, Dean said.

She hopes to see wellness advocates including massage therapists, midwives,
general practitioners and others take advantage of the space. The
association’s part of the building will include 21 counselling rooms,
two group rooms and five administrator offices, and it will no longer
share a space with the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

“We strongly believe in choice of access for families,” Dean said. “We have
had it reported that having the Ministry in the building adds to the
barrier to access our services. To increase choice to accessible
services in different places and different design, in our mind,
increases quality, so that is important.”

Grade 8 student Pascale Grenier, 13, is a graduate of Pacific Centre’s Skookum
Cafe program, which offers skills and work experience for youth looking
to make a move into the job market. She said her first-hand experience
helped her understand the relevance of the programming in the community,
both from the benefit it had on her life and those who took the class
alongside her.

“I definitely think it’s good for the
community. It’s helped a lot of people and educated a lot of youth,”
she said. “There will be more room for more people to take more programs
and have more space … I think it’s definitely a positive to build a new
space … It was a little bit tight.”

Dean agreed that the organization’s space is cramped. And with one of the
fastest-growing communities in Canada expanding at the rate it is now,
taking a proactive approach will help mitigate future challenges down
the road, she added. Staff are currently going through the extensive
process of design and securing an architect. Finding the right
engineering company is the next step, Dean said, but she looks forward
to hearing feedback from the community as well.

“We welcome input and any questions that there are at any level. This is a
great opportunity for lots of different people to get involved in
different ways. It is not often you have a community project where
people can make a contribution and have a lasting legacy.”

alim@goldstreamgazette.com

Pacific Centre Family Services Association relies on the assistance of individuals, families and businesses to provide vital services to support Children, Seniors and Families in our community. From volunteering to financial donations, there are many ways for you to help us to continue providing services such as Youth Talk, Affordable Counseling, Better at Home and many more!