Construction on the very first community centre in York is underway, with a completion date set for winter 2014/2015.
The $29.5-million, 6,503-square-metre facility to be situated at the south-east corner of Black Creek Drive and Eglinton Avenue will boast a double gymnasium, running track, a six-lane 25-metre indoor training pool, an indoor leisure pool, weight/aerobic/dance rooms, two multi-purpose rooms, a teaching kitchen and activity rooms.
Entrances will lead to the bus stop and Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown LRT. The parking lot will have 113 spaces, dedicated car pool spots and covered accommodation for 16 bicycles.
More than 270 trees native to Ontario will be planted. The building will be designed to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standing and will meet the Toronto Green Standard (TGS) Tier 1 level.
The facility is expected to have 40 per cent better performance than specified by the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings, and 25 per cent lower energy costs. Barbara and Gary Stone came out to the community centre’s official groundbreaking Tuesday, Dec. 18 to see the site and view conceptual drawings.
“It’s pretty impressive,” Barbara said. “It’s been a long time coming for our neighbourhood. The design is beautiful, the neighbourhood is beautiful.”
The Stones, members of the Mount Dennis Community Association, said they currently use the swimming pool at York Memorial Collegiate Institute but that will change once the community centre is up and running.
“It will be more of a meeting point for community groups,” Barbara said. “I’m mostly looking forward to having a centralized location. The schools have acted as community centres.”
The community centre was originally set for the north-west corner of Black Creek Drive and Eglinton Avenue, but plans were called off when the Eglinton subway was cancelled in 1995, said York South-Weston Councillor Frances Nunziata.
“We’ve been talking about a community centre since the ’80s,” she said. “I continued to advocate for a community centre.”
Money was held in reserve for a community centre in York following amalgamation in 1997, and the city had to convince the province, which owned the land where the centre is being built, to hand it over to the city and rezone it from its original residential designation, Nunziata said.
The community, especially high school students, had a big say in the community centre’s design and Nunziata is planning to involve young people in a naming contest for the centre, she said.
“This is really good news for the city,” she said. “It will be able to accommodate residents in Etobicoke and North York, the whole west end of the city.”
Don Valley West Councillor Jaye Robinson, chair of the city’s community development and recreation committee, noted it’s not as easy as people might think to get things done at city hall. “It will be a wonderful gathering place for the community,” she said.
York South-Weston MPP Laura Albanese noted residents have waited years for a community centre to call their own. “It’s been a long time coming,” she said. “I look forward to the day we don’t only have drawings but a building completed. This will be our community centre.”