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Lac La Biche YAC could be open by summer

The Youth Assessment Centre has been closed since 2022 as major renovations are done on the facility.

LAC LA BICHE - The Youth Assessment Centre in Lac La Biche, which has been closed since 2022 for major renovations, could be up and running by the summer.  

The provincially-run Children and Family Services Youth Assessment Centre (YAC), which has rehabilitated and housed troubled youth for more than four decades, is currently undergoing an $8.2 million major renovation project that includes upgrades to interior spaces, building additions and exterior improvements.  

While the Youth Assessment Centre was initially expected to remain closed until 2025, according to Ashli Barrett, press secretary for the office of the Minister of Children and Family Services, the opening date could be coming sooner. 

“The facility is anticipated to re-open in summer 2024 after construction is complete, and will continue to be run by government,” Barrett told Lakeland This Week.  

When the closure of the facility and construction were announced by the provincial government in April of 2022, there were concerns about where clients and staff would be relocated during the duration of the project.  

At the time, there were 27 staff at the Lac La Biche YAC, with 14 of those being child and youth care counsellors, support workers, and food services providers. The other 13 included administrative and support personnel.  

Barrett said that all youth being served at the centre had “naturally transitioned out” and were not impacted by the closure.  

“Youth who need this type of service are being supported at other campus-based centres across the province,” she said.  

Barrett continued by saying that staff at the facility were provided with alternative work within Alberta’s government, or rights under the Collective Agreement and the Public Service Employment Regulation Act.  

On April 14, 2022, then minister of Children’s Services Rebecca Shultz stated in a Lakeland This Week news story that the renovations to the Lac La Biche Youth Assessment Centre were part of more a province-wide spend of $140 million in capital and operational funding to improve services for children.  

The renovations on the YAC were part of a $73.5 million commitment by the Alberta government to build and renovate facilities that also included renovations to the Yellowhead Youth Centre in Edmonton.  

Chris McGarry

About the Author: Chris McGarry

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