WIBCA unveils plans for new community centre

“It's going to serve the community,” says Joan Lee, president of the West Island Black Community Association (WIBCA) as the organization will be rebuilding its community centre to provide more space for its services. Swidda Rassy reports.

West Island Black Community Association (WIBCA) has unveiled plans for the construction of a new community centre at a cost of approximately $3.5 million. They will begin raising funds to help with the project.

At a press conference on Monday, they said “the project that speaks directly to Black excellence during Black History Month.”

The centre will be built at the same location as the current one in Roxboro on 4th Avenue south – which means what’s there now will be torn down.

The target completion date has not yet been set.

“We’re looking forward to this new adventure,” said WIBCA president, Joan Lee.

The proposed design includes a robotics lab, reception hall, culinary kitchen, classrooms, play areas, daycare, offices, and a second-floor library focusing on works dedicated to community development, diversity and Black and Indigenous history.

“It’s going to serve the community and again the seniors who have brought us to where we are now and to the youth who will bring us forward,” said Lee.

West Island Black Community Association (WIBCA)
West Island Black Community Association (WIBCA) unveils plans for the construction of a new community centre in Roxboro. Feb. 12, 2024. (CREDIT: Swidda Rassy, CityNews Image)
West Island Black Community Association (WIBCA)
West Island Black Community Association (WIBCA) unveils plans for the construction of a new community centre in Roxboro. Feb. 12, 2024. (CREDIT: Swidda Rassy, CityNews Image)

Operating since 1982, WIBCA is a staple in Montreal’s Black community offering services for both seniors and young people as well. For Makayla Ayitey-Armah, the updated robotics centre is one she is looking forward to use. 

“I’m very excited about that because that means we’re going to have our own space. We’re going to be able to put up our trophies and stuff and we’ll probably be able to meet more often if we’re lacking time,” said Ayitey-Armah.

For the 13-year-old, who aspires to become an astronaut, the robotics centre is an opportunity to hone her skills.

“I started looking for this program after I couldn’t sign up at any other robotics club due to the prices but WIBCA is totally free and it’s actually very useful because of the material we have access to,” said Ayitey-Armah.

Through WIBCA, Ayitey-Armah also had the opportunity to visit the Canadian Space Agency in November.

“That outing was so much fun…we got to meet the astronauts and talk to them and all,” said Ayitey-Armah.

Pierrefonds-Roxboro mayor Jim Beis says the city will step up to ensure that WIBCA services continue to be offered.

“None of that will happen up until the demolition of this building or the program is in place to rebuild this facility, and so in the meantime, we’re making sure that we’re guaranteeing the space available when the time comes,” said Beis.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today