A youth from Steinbach is urging city council to establish a Youth Council. Spencer Teetaert is a Grade 12 student at Steinbach Regional Secondary School and is president of the student council. He made a presentation to city council Tuesday night. Teetaert says he got the idea for a Youth Council while attending a Canada 150 youth forum in Ottawa earlier this year. He explains the purpose of such a council.
"The youth councils are a way to give youth a platform to share their ideas and to bring to life what they see as a need in the community. In other cities, they've brought mental health campaigns and infrastructure for youth, they've advocated for theatres and sports centres and stuff like that. It really is a platform for youth to bring (forward) what they want to see in the city."
Teetaert says it would also expose young people to civic politics. He notes such a council would have to be spearheaded by the city so that it can be sustained long term.
"We would need someone on city council to be involved in this idea, who is enthusiastic about it. I know, me personally, I'm going to be leaving in a year for school so I cannot spearheadthe whole thing. But I know there are people in this community that are youth enthusiasts and would love to see this pull through."
Teetaert says, ideally, a youth council would be given a budget and the freedom to use it. He notes the City of Tecumseh, Ontario gives its youth council an annual budget of $5,000.
City councillors commended Teetaert for his proposal. Deputy Mayor John Fehr says it will need to be explored further before a decision is made.
"I guess the best way to do this is to look at all the pros and cons to it and see how we could do something like this practically. The logistics of it are always the thing that makes it work or not work. Hopefully, we can come up with something that's going to be workable for the youth and for council as well."
Fehr says Teetaert's proposal will be discussed at an upcoming city council study session.