If the proposed City budget passes in its current form, it would contain good news for the community: work on the Wabash Community Centre would officially begin later this year.
The Friends of Sorauren Park continue to monitor City Hall as this year’s budget moves through committee to an eventual vote at Council in mid February.
The 2017-2026 capital budget and plan for Parks, Forestry and Recreation includes a total of $32.4 million for pre-engineering, design and construction of the new facility that would be located on Wabash Avenue beside Sorauren Park.
Pre-engineering work would start this year, with $50,000 budgeted. Design would continue the following year, with another $400,000 budgeted. Design and construction would then continue until 2022.
In early January, Chander Chaddah, a volunteer board member of Friends of Sorauren Park since 2006, spoke to the budget committee during public consultations about the importance of the proposed centre to the community. He highlighted recent and upcoming growth in the neighbourhood, and the fact the Wabash Community Centre is the next centre to be built according the City’s 2004 plan for new recreation facilities. The community has been advocating for the centre since the early 1990s.
Not including the investment in Sorauren Park, the City has already invested $3 million in the Wabash site, including $2 million for land purchase in 2000 and a $1 million environmental clean-up in 2004.
Following this week’s budget committee, Ward 14 Councillor Gord Perks issued the following statement:
Good news. Reading through the draft budget I’ve noticed that the Wabash New Community Centre completion date has advanced by six months into 2022. At a guess, this means doors open mid-2023.
Also, the community can take credit for reducing some of the expected costs. Parks Capital staff reviewed the project, and the Wabash ‘Green’ Feasibility Study completed in 2010 was high enough quality that some City pre-planning costs could be avoided.
I’ll keep my eye on this. But, in the meantime feel good. All those hours of neighbourhood work are paying off.
The Councillor also provided this snapshot comparing the 2016 budget to the 2017 proposed budget:
The 2009-2010 Green Feasibility Study was funded by a $100,000 grant secured by Friends of Sorauren Park from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and a matching $100,000 from the City. It contains the most recent concept plans for the centre which would re-purpose the old 40,000 sq. ft. linseed oil mill on the site.
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