Establishment of a Sunshine Coast Youth Council has merit, but logistics could prove difficult, according to qathet Regional District directors.
At the June 25 regional board meeting, directors reviewed correspondence from two Gibsons youth councillors who want to establish a Sunshine Coast Youth Council.
In the proposal, it was stated that the purpose of the council is to bring together and amplify the voices of young people on the Sunshine Coast.
“This is an opportunity for youth to step out of the classroom and learn about government firsthand, while strengthening their leadership skills and engaging with the community,” the proposal stated.
The council would consist of students in grades 9 to 12, including one delegate from City of Powell River, one from Tla’amin Nation and one from each electoral area in qathet Regional District. The proposed application period would be in early September with the intention of the first council meeting being held late in October.
City director CaroleAnn Leishman said organizers want the regional district to appoint several youth to the committee. She said she forwarded the correspondence to the city youth council.
“The timing is not that great,” said Leishman. “Youth council members are going on vacations. At this time, I’m not sure about trying to appoint youth from electoral areas.”
Electoral Area D director Sandy McCormick said getting youth engaged from the electoral areas would be very valuable. She said the city already has its youth council but there is nothing for the youth in the five electoral areas.
“Is this something the school district would be best to recommend students?” asked McCormick.
Board chair Patrick Brabazon said Leishman has touched on the fact that students are rushing off in every direction. He suggested the matter be postponed to a subsequent board meeting, when staff have had enough time to check with the school district and maybe come up with a report.
Leishman, one of the city councillor sponsors of Powell River Youth Council, said it’s a lot of work because she doesn’t have staff support. She said she basically organizes all council agendas and administrative assistance for all meetings.
“Without someone at the qathet Regional District taking the lead and championing it, I don’t know how it would happen,” said Leishman.
City director George Doubt said the chair’s idea of asking staff for a more in-depth report about implications would be a good idea. He said the Powell River Youth Council is a useful organization that gets people together but it’s generally focused around Brooks Secondary School.
“Getting a meeting together with everyone from the city is not a difficult thing, but when you start organizing a group like that, which has people from all electoral areas of this region and Sunshine Coast Regional District, you start to get into a lot more things,” said Doubt. “You have travel and organizing to do and much more expense. It’s going to take more than saying it’s a good idea.”
McCormick said she wondered if this is something the social planner could address and have it come back in September once school is in.
Electoral Area C director Clay Brander said he would like more information to come from organizers before staff reports are written.
Electoral Area B director Mark Gisborne said he didn’t think a staff report was required.
The board voted to receive the letter.
The board then carried a motion to provide information on the regional district’s grants-in-aid to the organizers.