Statement from Minister McPhee on new community space in the Jim Smith building

Minister of Health and Social Services Tracy-Anne McPhee has issued the following statement:

“Today marks a significant step forward in our Downtown Whitehorse Safety Response Plan.

“Starting today, the Jim Smith Building will host a new community space in the former cafeteria, extending a welcoming space to members of our community and providing access to crucial support services.

“This pilot project builds on the previous use of the space as a public cafeteria by various organizations, including Opportunities Yukon, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society Yukon and government departments like Health and Social Services and Justice, along with their clients.

“Our government is committed to improving the lives of all Yukoners.

“As part of this commitment, we have been working hard alongside our partners to foster a safe, inclusive and thriving downtown Whitehorse for everyone.

“The opening of the community space in the Jim Smith Building reflects that commitment and is a key component of the Downtown Whitehorse Safety Response Action Plan.

“The community space is situated on the ground floor of the Jim Smith Building, which is located at 2071 2nd Avenue in Whitehorse. It will be open to visitors from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.

“This community space will be open starting today, March 18, and will continue to welcome visitors for the next six and a half weeks, coinciding with the closure of the Whitehorse Library.

“The community space is intended to provide a welcoming environment for all members of the public as well as a meeting spot for those accessing government support such as legal aid and social services.

“Inside the community space, Yukoners will have free access to computers, WiFi, snacks, hot beverages and water as well as washroom facilities, period products, naloxone kits and free bus passes. 

“There will be tables and chairs for those wishing to work, study, play cards or games, have a snack, or come in from the cold.

“Visitors will be served by two onsite workers at all times and one part-time library outreach worker. These workers will help connect vulnerable individuals to other support and services as needed.

“The community space aims to provide one more option for individuals to access a safe, accessible, social space in the downtown area.

“At first, this initiative will operate on a trial basis. Then we will assess the program’s viability and impact for supporting vulnerable Yukon populations.

“Regardless of the outcome of this pilot project, our goal is to gain a deeper insight into our community's needs and to demonstrate the values of compassion and inclusivity that are central to everything we do as a government.

“I would like to extend a huge thank you to all those who have helped make this warming centre and project a reality.

“I want to thank the Jim Smith Building Occupational Health and Safety Group for providing valuable feedback on behalf of building employees, as well as the Yukon Legislative Assembly staff and the Yukon NDP Caucus for meeting with members of Health and Social Services to discuss how the building can be more accessible and a safe space for everyone.

“The vision, determination and compassion of Government of Yukon employees and valued community partners is truly incredible.

“I am proud and privileged to be part of such an extraordinary community.”

Media contact 

Laura Seeley
Cabinet Communications

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