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New community services building to officially open in Maple Ridge

The non-profit provides a variety of services and programs to Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows residents
Executive director Vicki Kipps outside the entrance to Alisa’s Wish Child and Youth Advocacy Centre. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Community Services has a new home with new open spaces, lots of natural light, and multi-purpose rooms.

Two storeys of windows allow for light to flow into the main foyer of the building where comfortable seating and plants welcome people to the building.

Community Services moved into the new building in February.

Executive director Vicki Kipps said the main focus was to create a welcoming space.

On the main floor, people will find programs for seniors like the Party Bus, Social Prescribing, and Meals on Wheels. The hallways are wider to accommodate walkers and scooters for people who may have mobility issues.

There is also a community room, which will be shared with groups including Rotary, Kiwanis, and the Youth Planning Table.

At the end of the hall on the west side of the building people will find legal services such as family law advocacy, community law advocacy, clinical counselling, and victims services.

“We specifically put our counselling services and our legal services down at this end. The last thing you want to do after you’ve seen your counsellor is to meander all through the building to exit,” said Kipps, noting that now people can be escorted respectfully and privately out through a side door. And, for people with mobility challenges, they don’t have to walk so far to exit the building.

At the end of the hall is a shared space, room 160B, for all to enjoy that is named the Bryan Taylor Room.

“Bryan Taylor was a very, very beloved gentleman who volunteered with us,” explained Kipps. This is her favourite spot in the building because, she said, Bryan was about creating community.

“He was happy to see everybody, he made everybody feel safe and welcome. And then all kinds of creative things happen in a multi-purpose room. Everyday is something different,” she said.

On the east end of the main floor of the building is where people will go to find childcare resource and referral. This is where parents will go to find information on quality daycare and childminding, explained Kipps.

This area of the building was designed with rooms that support many purposes. Doors can be closed when there are different programs being operated and opened when more space is needed. There is an early childhood kitchen and Family Place program, for parent drop in and Daddy and Me programs. There is a stroller parking area and a parent lounge to have quiet conversations or to breast feed. And there are designed spaces to develop motor skills and lots of interactive toys and books.

The space can be used for pre-school children during the day and then after school it can be used for supervised access or family groups.

“We tried to create a space that can be used seven days a week for different programs,” said Kipps.

On the second floor of the building is where administration, marketing, human resources, social media, finance, outreach councillors, and the supportive volunteer program can be found.

The Restorative Justice department is also found on the second floor and a large staff room with an attached board room, kitchen and a south facing balcony.

“It is sort of important to us to have this staff room just in terms of that safe place where you can decompress,” added Kipps.

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Alisa’s Wish also operates out of the building with a slightly more private entrance with security features. There is a homey room with a couch, love seat, quilts, toys and books, and a kitchen, where young victims of sexual assault and violence can feel safe to tell their stories to those professionals who are there to help them. There is also a medical exam room where the plan is to have a clinical nurse practitioner come in and provide follow-up aftercare to survivors of violence.

There are interview rooms with a monitoring room in between, and a youth room that is like a lounge with a television that youth will be able to access while they wait to give their statement or after they have given it to police.

The Club offers therapeutic, recreation, social place to go for adults with mental illness. In addition to a sizable area where people can gather to play cards or games over a coffee, or meet with others for life skills peer support like coping with quitting smoking – there is also a large commercial kitchen for people who want to participate in the lunch program, meal preparation, or to provide pre-employment experience.

A learning area at the club – along with a donation of laptop computers – offers an environment for those wishing to learn computer and online skills. And a calming room will offer a space for people experiencing anxiety or depression with tools to help calm and regulate themselves.

“This is a safe place in terms of understanding around living with mental illness,” she said.

Planning for the new building began in October 2016 and construction began in 2018.

The overall cost of the project was $26 million. BC Housing helped out with a grant of $13 million.

The project also includes Cornerstone Landing, 94 affordable housing rental units at 22772 119th Avenue .

Community Services has operated in the community since 1971, and currently serves about 17,000 people each year with 29 different programs and services.

The grand opening takes place from noon-2 p.m. on April 28, at 22768 119th Ave., in Maple Ridge. It will start with a ribbon cutting ceremony with dignitaries, an Honour Song by Katzie Chief Grace George, and a performance by the Maple Ridge Secondary School Women’s Choir.

Anyone wishing to access the services of Alisa’s Wish can call 604-466-3922 to book an appointment.

For more information about Community Services programs go to or call 604-467-6911.

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Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
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