Work is ramping up once again to finish building the Batshaw youth readaptation centre on Elm Avenue in Beaconsfield.
Officials are hoping to have phase one completed and open by June.
Forty-eight at-risk teens are slated to move into the centre from the existing but aging facility in Dorval.
“I’m really looking forward to June. Yes, very much so because It’s the first phase in a three phase process for us,” Katherine Moxness, the Batshaw Youth Program Director told Global News.
Opening the centre has been marred with delays since its initial ground breaking in 2013. Red tape and a a lack of funds prevented the youth centre from opening by its original date of 2015.
“We’re anxious to see done and completed and in operation,” Beaconsfield mayor Georges Bourelle told Global News.
Last year, the site was used as a COVID-19 diagnostic testing centre, but those services have now moved to Kirkland, paving the way for the planned June opening.
“If I have to go to Quebec City and ask questions to Lionel Carmant, the responsible, and say, ‘Why is there any additional delays? This is unacceptable.’ I will do that,” Greg Kelley, MNA (Liberal — Jacques-Cartier) told Global News.
Batshaw Youth Protection Services also operates a detention centre for young offenders in Prevost in the Laurentians, but the plan is to close that facility and move those juveniles to Dorval — once it’s renovated into a closed, secure detention centre.
Juvenile crime has dropped in recent years, according to the latest figures by Statistics Canada, but the number of youths being reported to protection services has seen an uptick in recent years, increasing demands for new facilities like the one in Beaconsfield.
“Those are like sanctuaries for these kids who have gone through difficult upbringings. So, I’m looking forward to visiting it,” Dr. Delphine Collin-Vézina, McGill University Director for Research on Children and Families, told Global News.
Officials plan to expand the Beaconsfield readaptation centre to accommodate up to 84 youths by the end of 2024 or early 2025.