Wabash Community Centre design starts 2017

Interior rending showing new gym on basement level. View is west towards main entrance off Wabash Avenue on left. From 2009 Wabash Green Feasibility Study.

Interior rendering showing new gym on basement level. View is west towards main entrance off Wabash Avenue on left. From 2009 Wabash Green Feasibility Study.

City Council’s approval last week of the 10-year capital plan means work on the Wabash Community Centre should start next year.

The “40 Wabash Parkdale CC” community centre project remains in the Parks, Forestry and Recreation capital budget for the years 2017 to 2023. Final design studies would start in 2017, with shovels in the ground by 2020.

40 Wabash refers to the street address of the old linseed oil mill by Sorauren Park, purchased by the City 15 years ago for repurposing into a new community centre.

Money will flow for final design work assuming the project stays in the capital budget for 2017 and it receives Council approval one year from now.

The total cost of the community centre is estimated at $34 million, including design and construction. The City has already invested about $3 million in the site, with the property purchase in 2000 and environmental remediation in 2004.

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 first feasibility study was conducted 12 years ago, following several years of community advocacy and needs assessments. Local population has grown since then, and continues to grow with new development.

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 large and small multipurpose rooms, recreation and culture rooms, dance studio, youth space, cafe, and third-floor event space with walk-out terrace.

The non-profit Wabash Building Society intends to kick-start design consultations this year.

WBS campaigns have raised or leveraged approximately $750,000 since 2006, to create the Sorauren Park Fieldhouse (2008) and Sorauren Town Square (2014-2015).

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