After sitting empty for two and a half years the former Spring Creek daycare centre may find new life as the Whistler Foundation Social Services Centre. Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS) and the Howe Sound Women's Centre (HSWC) in Squamish have partnered up to apply to the RMOW to rent the space. Both non-profit groups have been looking to expand their office infrastructure to handle various programs.
Until now there hasn't been a Women's Centre in Whistler, making it difficult for that organization to run its counselling program for children who witness abuse.
Currently there are 10 to 15 children on the counselling waitlist. Each has been exposed to domestic violence or angry, damaging divorces.
"We see kids whose parents are currently in an abusive relationship. Whether they are part of it or have just witnessed it, it doesn't really matter, they need care," said HSWC children's program manager Shana Murray. "The fact that we pay more for our rent space than we do for our counselling is a little bit shocking with so many kids on the waitlist."
The counselling program is currently run out of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce building. While Murray said the Chamber has kept the rent low, it's not low enough to expand or even maintain the current services provided by one counsellor. The shared space will provide the HSWC with their own wing to offer additional services such as providing information, referrals and support by telephone or on a drop-in basis as well as maintain a library of books, pamphlets, quarterly newsletters and videos concerning women's issues.
The WCSS will also move its food bank to the new location - a timely announcement given their current facility is scheduled to be rezoned to accommodate a trailer on the church lands it sits on.
"This location provides a sink and kitchen on site, which is extremely important, and also prevents clients from having to stand in line outside in the weather for hours on Food Bank days," said Lorna Van Straaten, executive director of WCSS. "And there is plenty of room for dry food storage and the huge fridge we had donated by the Pemberton Health Care Centre. It's a fantastic space for the program."