Have your say in community centre consultations

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Interior view from ground-floor level down to basement level – 2009 concept plan

Dear Neighbours,

As you may already be aware, the Wabash Community Centre to be located in Sorauren Park will soon be a reality. The City of Toronto approved the $40M in funding as part of its 2017 capital budget and is preparing for the preliminary design phase to begin in early 2019 – with shovels in the ground planned for 2020 and doors opening as early as 2022.

With momentum building, the FOSP board thought it important that we lead our own strategic initiative to engage directly with the community to seek interest and participation in planning your ideal community centre.

Our independent initiative is to be complementary to the public consultation process led by the City of Toronto. Our goal is to align to their process and consultation timeline, and to submit a formal FOSP document that has been developed with direct community input.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve heard from many in the community who have expressed a want to “have their say” in shaping how the community centre is designed and built, and how it will serve the people once opened.

So, if you are interested in contributing your time, energy and talents, please review our strategic framework and sign up.

Our committees will form around the following paths. Design Excellence, Heritage, Town Square, Aquatic Facilities, Programming, Governance/Operations and Centre/Park Integration. We expect to have our key committees up and running early in the new year.

If you would like more information, feel free to contact us by using the contact form.

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Holiday season.

Regards,

Board of Directors,
Friends of Sorauren Park

Province cancels additional funding for aquatic facility

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Dear Neighbours,

On May 7, 2018 the Ministry of Infrastructure Ontario publically announced its pledge of $3.3M towards a proposed $10M Sorauren Park Aquatic Centre. The Friends of Sorauren Park (FOSP) had submitted a proposal in March 2018 to access a new culture and recreation funding stream made available through a tri-lateral program between the Federal and Provincial governments and the City of Toronto.

The proposed Sorauren Park Aquatic Centre was to feature a multi-lane, 25-metre lap pool, a leisure pool, a spa / therapeutic pool and gender neutral changing rooms which would have allowed full accessibility for all patrons – similar in scope as the Regent Park Aquatic Centre currently in operation on the east side of the city.

Our objective for seeking funding was to ensure the Wabash Community Centre, whose $40M budget was approved by the City of Toronto in its 2017 capital budget, would be sufficiently funded to include public swimming facilities.

Weeks after the recent provincial election, the FOSP was informed via a phone call from an official at the Department of Infrastructure Ontario, that the funding for the Sorauren Park Aquatic Centre had now been cancelled due to the changing budget priorities of the government.

To be clear, this decision does not affect the in-progress development of the Wabash Community Centre which the City of Toronto is set to move to the preliminary design phase in early 2019, with shovels in the ground planned for 2020 and doors opening as early as 2022. The City’s Facilities Master Plan, released in 2017, called for pool facilities at the Wabash Community Centre.

In our continued conversations with federal government representatives, there continues to be a commitment by them to prioritize support for some funding that could contribute to enhancing the Wabash Community Centre.

We will keep you updated as to any further developments.

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Holiday season.

Regards,

Joel Campbell, President
Board of Directors
Friends of Sorauren Park

First Community Centre consultation July 10

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FLYER_WabashCC_rev2

The City has announced the first public consultation for the new Wabash Community Centre at Sorauren Park. It will take place July 10, starting at 6 p.m., at Bishop Marrocco / Thomas Merton Catholic Secondary School at Bloor and Dundas.

Please attend to provide your input and show your support for the new centre, for which the community has been advocating since the early 1990s, most recently by the Friends of Sorauren Park.

The City has budgeted $40 million for the project. The province recently promised an additional $3.3 million towards aquatic facilities.

Here is the message from Councillor Gord Perks:

Hello Friends,

The City of Toronto is building a new Community Centre on Wabash Avenue, located just east of the fieldhouse in Sorauren Park on the site of the old Linseed Factory.

This is very exciting.

Please join me for a meeting with community members and City of Toronto Parks staff to discuss the Wabash Community Centre.

Community input is essential when deciding how best to improve public spaces and this meeting will serve as a great opportunity to hear from you.

This will be the first of many community consultations.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Bishop Marrocco / Thomas Merton Catholic Secondary School
1515 Bloor Street West, Staff Room, Rm. 331

Please see the flyer for more information. This site is accessible.

If you have any questions or are unable to attend the meeting and wish to share your concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office at councillor_perks@toronto.ca .

Look forward to seeing you on July 10th at Bishop Marrocco for the first of many community conversations.

Sincerely,

Gord

Councillor Gord Perks
Ward 14, Parkdale High-Park

Birds-eye view of the old brick linseed oil mill, 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

Wabash Community Centre budget increases by $6 million

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Photo of old linseed factory in afternoon light

The City purchased the old Canada Linseed Oil Mill site in 2000 as the home for the new Wabash Community Centre

More planning details on the Wabash Community Centre have been released by the City as part of the 2018 Capital Budget process.

And a hint that a pool may be included in the planning discussions was released earlier in the City’s new Facilities Master Plan.

The Parks, Forestry and Recreation Capital Budget document, which every year must be approved by City Council (the next vote is February 12), recommends a $6 million increase in the project’s overall budget, from $34 million to $40 million, flowing over five years from now till 2022. The extra funding was added “to account for program requirements and recent costs for construction.”

The budget recommends $413,000 in 2018 spending, primarily on preliminary design work, following a modest $30,000 expenditure in 2017.

In a related development, in November Council passed the Parks, Forestry and Recreation Facilities Master Plan (FMP), a document that analyzes current facilities, identifies gaps and trends, and lays the groundwork for the next 20 years of investment for the growing and changing city.

The FMP recommended that indoor pools be including in planning for 15 new or replacement community centres over the next 20 years. Wabash was on the list.

The new community centre will be located in Sorauren Park at the site of the old linseed oil mill. The non-profit Friends of Sorauren Park (incorporated as the Wabash Building Society) plans to hold community consultations in 2018 regarding design and construction plans for the new centre, which has been the subject of discussions for more than 25 years.

Sign up for the Sorauren Park News e-newsletter, or follow SoraurenPark on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates and meeting notices.

The 2018 Capital Budget plan for Council consideration includes a section on the Wabash Community Centre. It is reproduced here:

Wabash Community Centre

The project scope includes design and construction of a new community centre of approximately 62,265 square feet (sq.ft.). Specific program components will be determined through a combination of the results of the existing building (40 Wabash [linseed oil factory])/site assessment, internal stakeholders, and community consultation processes.

Project Deliverables and Status:

The proposed target gross floor area, may be verified/adjusted through an assessment of the existing structure at 40 Wabash and immediate site, related impacts including any restoration, remediation, and allocated budget. This along with programme development, will in turn determine the extent of new vs. renovation/restoration, or addition to the existing.

Proposed Preliminary Project Schedule includes Pre-design/Site Investigations/Updates in 2017; Consultation, Programming and Schematic Design in 2018; Design Development/Construction Documents in 2019; Construction Procurement in mid-late 2019; and Construction from 2020-2022.

Project Challenges:

Anticipated challenges on this project relate to site specific impacts / existing conditions on site, which include an existing building, related site remediation, and mitigation strategies related to the adjacent rail corridor (crash wall etc). These factors will necessitate additional project approvals with Authorities Having Jurisdiction including the Ministry of the Environment and Metrolinx.

In addition, any delays in the tendering process may result in delays in delivery of the project and increase cost. Mitigation strategies include: meeting with stakeholders and authorities having jurisdiction during the schematic design and design development phase of the project. Increased cost risk due to the site specific conditions and potential escalations will be monitored by having cost estimates prepared at key milestones in the project development.

Financial Update:

The design of the new community centre was approved by City Council through the 2017 Capital Budget, at a cost of $1.6 M. The construction phase, in the amount of $32.394 M, was included in the 2017 Ten-Year Capital Plan.

Through the 2018 Preliminary Capital Budget, $6.0 M in funding will be added to the project budget to account for program requirements and recent costs for construction.
Anticipated Future Financial Impact:

Operating impacts of $0.840 million and 22 positions are included in the future year outlook of the Parks Forestry and Recreation 2018 Operating Budget and will be further refined in future Operating Budget Submissions.

City Council votes yes to Wabash Community Centre

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Gym

Interior view from ground-floor level down to basement level

Toronto City Council has voted to start work this year on the Wabash Community Centre at Sorauren Park.

Work will begin with a modest $50,000 budgeted for pre-engineering. That will be followed by design in 2018 and 2019, with shovels in the ground planned for 2020, towards a 2022 or 2023 opening. Total project budget is $32.4 million.

“After 17 years on the books and many years of community advocacy before that, this is wonderful news,” said Joël Campbell, chair of the all-volunteer Friends of Sorauren Park. “This is a milestone.”

The Friends of Sorauren Park recently concluded its “Unlock the Community Centre” awareness campaign, the latest in a long series of actions to advocate for the centre.

The project is included in Parks, Forestry and Recreation’s capital budget and plan, which City Council approved Wednesday, February 15, 2017, as part of the overall City budget.

The most recent plans for the community centre, prepared as part of a 2009 feasibility study, would convert the abandoned Canada Linseed Oil Mills building next to the park into a 40,000 sq. ft. community hub with a gym (shown above), multipurpose rooms, studios and fitness rooms, youth space, kitchen and third-floor event space with a rooftop terrace.

Follow us on social media @SoraurenPark, our website and this newsletter for updates and news on design consultations.

Friends of Sorauren Park would like to thank Councillor Gord Perks, along with previous Ward 14 councillors Sylvia Watson and Chris Korwin-Kuczynski, who all moved the project along at various stages at City Council.

Most of all, thanks to the community, which has advocated ceaselessly for the community centre since the early 1990s. Never stop believing.

Birds-eye view of the old brick linseed oil mill, 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