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New West Family Place works to welcome families to its new home

Family Place gets a helping hand from the city and from a “generous” donor to set up in new downtown space
New Westminster Family Place offers programs and support for families with young children. It's in the process of renovating a new space at the Quay.

New West Family Place is hard at work on efforts to welcome families into its new space.

Since 1989, Family Place has been offering a variety of drop-in programs, workshops, parenting groups and services for families with children aged zero to six years of age. It’s currently renovating a new space at 960 Quayside Dr. – a commercial building next to the Inn at the Quay and River Market.

The move comes after Family Place had to vacate the space it had been using in Qayqayt Elementary School since 2016 because the school district needed the space.

New Westminster city council recently agreed to lend a hand to New Westminster Family Place to help it set up in its new home. Council recently approved a one-time emergency grant of $6,300 to New West Family Place, with the funds being used to support its relocation to 960 Quayside Dr. by offsetting the value of the 2023 municipal taxes.

According to a report to council, Family Place has secured a new location at the Quay, with the assistance of several external agencies and city staff, but will face “significant” expenses in its first year, including upgrades to integrate three units at the new site.

The staff report noted that New Westminster Family Place has been supported by a “generous donation” of $64,500 per year for three years from Peter Chung of Primacorp Ventures, owner of 960 Quayside Dr. and River Market. “This donation will offset the leasing cost of the property and allow for the expansion of direct service to the community.”

Denise Tambellini, the city’s intergovernmental and community relations manager, said the city has helped facilitate the lease agreement at the new location and the donation from Chung.

“We're very grateful for that contribution,” she said.

According to Tambellini, the city’s financial support is considered to be a one-time emergency response. She noted that grant processes can take from six months to a year, and there was a quick timeline between the time Family Place needed to move out of the Qayqayt location and into the Quayside space.

“And so this is a one-time emergency fund just to cover the municipal part of their taxes,” she said. “They will continue to fund the construction which is a significant amount for them.”

Dana Osiowy, executive director of Family Place, said the non-profit has been doing a lot of fundraising.

“We will continue to do that,” she said. “I'm very confident that this will be a one-time funding, that we'll be able to even think out as we go forward. We do have like a robust fundraising strategy, a diversity of funders who fund our charity. So, we will continue along that path.”

Having toured the new space with Osiowy, Coun. Tasha Henderson said she’s delighted the city could play a role in facilitating Family Place’s relocation to a space that will serve many underserved communities in the downtown core.

“There's such a huge need for a zero to six programming in the downtown core,” she said. “I'm just thrilled to see the location.”

Osiowy said Family Place has heard from a number of people in Queensborough, who are excited that they’ll be able to hop on the Q to Q ferry with their little ones and pop over to the new Family Place location.

“Plus, being so adjacent to the SkyTrain, we expect to add a lot more neighbourhoods being able to access,” she said.

The Record reached out to Family Place to see when it will open in its new space. Renovations are underway, and as of March 23, no opening date has been established.

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