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

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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.

Join the Unlock the Community Centre campaign

Unlock the Community Centre

Hundreds of keychains with supporter names on the fence outside the future community centre. Growing every day!

Hundreds of keychains with supporter names on the fence outside the future community centre. Growing every day!

The City of Toronto has pledged $34 million to build our New Community Centre by 2023, starting 2017.

We need you to Show Your Support to ensure this remains a priority project for our neighbourhood.

Get your keychains at:

  • Joe’s Cafe, corner of Sorauren and Fermanagh
  • Scooter Girl Toys, 187 Roncesvalles Avenue

We also sell the custom keychains at our booth at various events during the year. Buy your keychain (suggested $5 donation) and place it on the fence outside the old linseed oil mill on Wabash Avenue at Sorauren Park… joining the other keychains already there.

Funds raised support the continued efforts of the non-profit, all-volunteer Friends of Sorauren Park to enhance the Sorauren Park experience including Movie Nights in the Town Square, construction of a Pizza Oven (permit submitted), operation of the Natural Ice Rink and much more.

For notices on events where you can buy your keychain, subscribe to our monthly newsletter, follow us on Twitter, or check the Upcoming Events calendar on our home page.

The community centre has been under discussion since the late 1980s, and a line item in the city’s capital budget since 2000, continuously delayed. Over those years, thousands of new people have moved into the area through redevelopment, with thousands more expected in coming years.

Proposed City budget includes Wabash Community Centre

Gym on basement level of Wabash Community Centre, from 2009 study

Gym on basement level of Wabash Community Centre, from 2009 study

The City of Toronto’s proposed capital budget for 2016 and beyond appears to have good news for the future Wabash Community Centre by Sorauren Park.

The “40 Wabash Parkdale CC” community centre project remains in the proposed Parks, Forestry and Recreation 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.

The proposed budget still needs to be approved by City Council at its meeting starting Feb. 17.

The budget reinforces the commitment made by Ward 14 Councillor Gord Perks at the annual general meeting of the non-profit Wabash Building Society in April 2015. 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 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 first feasibility study was conducted 12 years ago, following several years of community advocacy and needs assessments.

Since that time, thousands of new people have moved into the area through redevelopment, with thousands more expected in coming years. In the city’s 2004 Recreation Facilities Report, the Wabash Community Centre was listed as the No. 7 priority, with a proposed completion “in the 2005-2009 timeframe.” Of those seven projects, four have been completed and two are under way, leaving Wabash as the last.

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.

“This is great news, and we look forward to kick-starting the design process with the community in 2016,” said Joël Campbell, volunteer chair of the Wabash Building Society.

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 (2014-2015). These successful developments once again prove the need for a new community centre in a rapidly growing and diverse community.

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.

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