Forty-two youths aged between the ages of six and 17 are scheduled to arrive at the new Batshaw Youth and Family Centres in Beaconsfield on May 1.
They’re coming to the open concept re-adaptation centre from the Dorval facilities which are scheduled to be renovated.
The new facility is made up of two buildings with three floors. The minors will all have private bedrooms, modern living spaces, an open air kitchen and dining room and an art studio. Plenty of natural light permeates the facilities.
“Very excited. The high ceilings, the light, the wood — it’s a welcoming environment,” Katherine Moxness, the Youth Program Director, CIUSSS West Island, told Global News.
The children and adolescents are coming from families where there is record of domestic violence, neglect or other physical or emotional abuse. The youths are often in distress and need help.
“It’s really kids who’ve had a trauma background,” Moxness said.
None of the youth being transferred from Dorval are young offenders or individuals identified as threatening to the community.
Moxness says people living in the area have nothing to fear.
“I would check our statistics at Dorval campus — how many neighbours have had their houses broken into — and I can report since 2015, I know of none,” she said.
One resident who lives behind the facility welcomes the soon-to-be new neighbours.
“I really have no issue with that and I hope they’re happy there,” Stephanie Hildebrand, a Beaconsfield resident, told Global News.
The Beaconsfield centre is on Elm Avenue just west of the Beaconsfield train station. Eventually, a third wing for living accommodations will be built as well as a school, gymnasium, baseball diamond and possibly an inground pool.
The centre will be able to house more than 80 individuals. All of this is scheduled to be ready by 2028.
“We’re looking forward to trying to integrate them in the community with our own activities so they feel like they’re going to be part of our community,” Beaconsfield Mayor Georges Bourelle told Global News.
Ground-breaking for the Beaconsfield campus occurred in 2013 but bureaucratic problems, budgetary issues and the COVID-19 pandemic all caused significant delays to finish the buildings.
Officials just hope they can now stay on schedule to help out some of the West Island’s most vulnerable youths.