Community centre funding “secure” for 2017-2023 period

Birds-eye view drawing of the old brick linseed oil mill building, re-imagined as the Wabash Community Centre

2009 concept plan for Wabash Community Centre by Oleson Worland_Taylor Smyth architects, in joint venture. The plan would use the footprint and exterior of the old linseed oil mill. This view looks south-east with Wabash Avenue and the homes on Lukow Terrace in the background

Councillor Gord Perks’s office brought good news to local residents assembled at the annual general meeting of the Wabash Building Society last week: funding for the long-awaited Wabash Community Centre is “secure.”

A representative from the Councillor’s office delivered the news to about 40 people at the public meeting (the Councillor was in a City Council meeting that went late). The funding is set out in the City’s 10-year capital plan (Parks, Forestry and Recreation). Funding for the Wabash Community Centre is slated during the 2017-2023 period, for a total of $34 million covering design and construction.

An article in the Parkdale Villager, “City commits $34 million to new Wabash Community Centre,” provides more coverage.

While the news is encouraging, members of the community-based Wabash Building Society (WBS) pointed out the community centre has been a line item in the City’s budget since at least 2000. The dream for a community centre by Sorauren Park goes back to the late 1980s, prior to the opening of the park itself in 1995. The WBS will not stop advocating.

The most recent plan is contained in a 2009 report, Wabash “Green” Community Centre Feasibility Study, prepared by Oleson Worland_Taylor Smyth architects in joint venture for the City and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Building on previous studies, the 2009 plan would mostly retain the footprint, exterior and layout of the abandoned 40,000 sq. ft. linseed oil mill on the Wabash Avenue site, adjacent to the park. The interior and mechanicals would be completely rebuilt.

The plans include a gym space, several multipurpose rooms, recreation and culture rooms, youth lounge, cafe, and third-floor event space with walk-out terrace.

It’s expected more design consultations will be held with the community in the upcoming months to update the plans to reflect a changing neighbourhood.

The City has already invested about $3 million in the site, with the property purchase in 2000 and environmental remediation in 2004.

Aerial map showing how park was built in phases: main park 1995, Fieldhouse 2008, Town Square 2014, Community Centre 2017-2023 plan

The main park area was opened in 1995, the Fieldhouse in 2008, Town Square in 2014

Other portions of the linseed site have been redeveloped thanks to community efforts led by the Wabash Building Society. WBS campaigns have raised or leveraged approximately $750,000 since 2006, to create the Sorauren Park Fieldhouse (2008) and Sorauren Town Square (Phase 1, 2014).

The fence on the old industrial site is now pushed back to the old linseed oil mill, leaving one piece of the Sorauren Park vision to be completed. Stay tuned.

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2 comments

  1. Robert Stork

    is the existing building being properly cared for so that it does not become a demo site? The building is part of the heritage of the area and would be a shame to loose.

    • wabashbuildingsociety

      Hi Robert, two years ago extra cladding was applied to the windows and doors to help secure the building envelope from both the elements and from trespassers. Not a perfect solution but better than nothing. No doubt another building assessment will be done when the design process starts in 2017. Thanks for your interest.

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