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Weyburn's Family Place deserves support

My Nikkel's Worth column

WEYBURN – Residents and families have long known of the treasure we have in the Family Place, and plans are in place to ensure that it’s here for many more generations of families.

This may be dating me slightly, but when we first came here and took our kids to play there, the Family Place was located in the Souris Valley building, in one of the wings no longer used for mental hospital purposes.

Currently they are located on Fourth Street, and are preparing to relocate to the former Dance Zone building on McLelland Street.

The programs for families, the Mini-Go school for young children who are at-risk developmentally, and the drop-in play areas are just a few of the valuable resources available.

Many families can testify about how the programs and services have helped them, whether it’s the clothes closet, or parenting programs, or programs for young moms and their babies, or the community cooking program.

All of this is paid for by a combination of government grants and community donations, with fundraisers like the annual Festival of Trees helping to keep the doors open.

Many community-minded organizations and businesses have made donations to the Family Place as well, as they recognize the value that this community resource centre has.

Thus it was a bit of a surprise to hear Weyburn’s city council deny the request from the Family Place for a full or partial waiver of the development levy they are imposing.

A number of councillors prefaced their comments by saying how much they support the Family Place, but that support stopped short of any actual help as they slammed the door on providing any waiver on the levy.

There was even acknowledgement that this is a major upfront expense for the non-profit Family Place. If they could not see their way to provide a full waiver, the very least they could have done was provide a partial waiver, like half of the levy.

The levy, at $4.51 a square foot, will cost the non-profit group $13,421 – and this will be covered by donations from families and businesses, money that should be going to programs and expenses. A partial waiver could at least have shown the city has actual support of the Family Place, and the resource they provide to families.

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