City Council votes yes to Wabash Community Centre

Featured

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

Advertisements

City budget update: Wabash Community Centre

Gym

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.

Little City Festival raises $4,200 for Town Square

The ever-expanding Little City Festival, held June 17, was a big success this year. Thanks to community support, the Festival raised $4,200 for the Sorauren Town Square fund.

The new Town Square, with construction planned to start in fall 2013, will expand Sorauren Park into the vacant fenced-off land between the Fieldhouse and the old linseed oil factory.

A big thanks to Little City Festival organizers The Little Paper, Small Print Toronto and Rooster Studios.

A compilation album of the young musicians who performed at the Festival is available for download, and proceeds will also be donated to the Town Square campaign. The album download costs $10. Purchase this great album of local talent and future stars from the Zunior website here.

Festival organizers are already working on next year’s event. Subscribe to Sorauren Park News to stay in touch with Festival news and other events at the park.