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 budget update: Wabash Community Centre

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Interior view from ground-floor level down to basement level. Artist’s rendering from 2009 Green Feasibility Study

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.

This week, 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:

Friends,

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.

Gord

The Councillor also provided this snapshot comparing the 2016 budget to the 2017 proposed budget:

2016vs2017_wabashcc

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.Follow this site, subscribe to our newsletter or follow @SoraurenPark on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for updates.