After much discussion over the past few council meetings, Kimberley City Council has voted to finalize an agreement with Columbia Basin Trust to have the City of Kimberley become the legal entity for the Kimberley Youth Action Network (KYAN).
The agreement will detail the terms associated with the city becoming the local entity for KYAN, which makes the city responsible for all aspects of the supervision and administration of the group. A finalized agreement will be brought back to a future council meeting for further authorization.
Council all voted in favour of the agreement, with hopes that over the next few years KYAN can become their own legal entity or find another organization to help them do so.
Councillor Nigel Kitto, who was originally opposed to the motion, says that he only raised objections because of the fact that there are two separate youth groups in town.
“Not to dismiss the value of work coming from KYAN, they’ve achieved a lot over last little while. I’ll support the arrangement because to loose that funding would be a tragedy,” said Kitto. “The town is too small. There’s [already] a youth centre in town, why do we have a separate youth network? The [Spark] youth group has a 20 plus year history and is already a legal entity…”
He says he hopes that the City and KYAN can work together for a plan going forward that sees the two youth groups working together.
Councillor Darryl Okaley says that the two youth groups in town have different priorities which sets them apart.
“There are different cultures and mandates with the groups of teens they’re working with,” said Oakley. “One group is in a building, and the other is in many buildings and places throughout town. They’re two different philosophies on how to work with young people and each have pluses and minuses…”
Councillor Sandra Roberts agreed with Kitto, saying KYAN was in a tough spot and on a deadline.
“Their funding needs to be determined. They’ve done really well with what they’ve had in the past,” said Roberts. “I don’t want that to stop because they can’t find a legal entity, but we should try to help them become society of their own, or find people to help them with that. We’re a government and I hope it isn’t present setting.”
Councillor Kyle Dalum says that KYAN isn’t setting any precedents but rather following the model that many other groups have in this situation.
“I don’t think this will set a precedent because they’re willing to pay for the time of staff. We do have a smaller population, but I think that KYAN is really just following the examples of other youth action networks who have gone to their cities. I would love them to be independent and hope they can build their own little legacy.”
Councillor Jason McBain says it’s a lesson to be learned for all.
“This is a good chance to learn from something. We know what to look for in the future, to help other non-profits get ready, or to support them,” he said. “I think we have to be careful about moving forward but it’s a good opportunity to learn so it doesn’t happen again in the future.”
Mayor Don McCormick agreed with Dalum, stating that this is a model used by many other youth groups in the Kootenays.
“Up until now, 14 of the 28 youth action networks in the east Kootenays are managed by municipalities. It’s not a precedent; KYAN has come to us on the basis that it has worked well before,” said the Mayor. “There’s a short term issue we need to resolve. They have a three year contract [which gives us] time to evolve the model for Kimberley so we can end up with the best interests of both KYAN and the municipality.”