$29-million community centre gets thumbs up from supporters

Community residents couldn’t be happier with city council’s approval of a new $29-million community centre at Warden and Finch in northwest Scarborough.

Area resident Jordie Scott has lived in the Steeles-L’amoreaux neighbourhood his entire life. He says the addition of a community centre is something of a necessity.

Sometimes you have to travel miles before you reach anything fun

— Jordie Scott

“There’s nothing around here. Period,” Scott said.

“Sometimes you have to travel miles before you reach anything fun. It’s always a constant ‘Where should we go?’ just to try and find something to do. It shouldn’t be like that. [The community] puts on a few things every now and then, but nothing consistent. This would be a consistent place to go and have all your recreational needs fulfilled.”

The 100,000-square-foot facility will be built on the grounds of the former Timothy Eaton Business & Technical Institute (BTI). Plans include housing a YMCA centre, providing rental space for community-based agencies and allocating space to the Scarborough Hospital for health services, said Nrinder Nann, Toronto’s Manager of Community Development.

“We are still in the early stages of the development, and [we are] very happy to have reached this milestone with council’s decision,” Nann said.

“Now, the non-city partners are going about their own internal approval process. There will be services provided by community agencies, some of which receive United Way funding, YMCA services and health services from the Scarborough Hospital.”

The construction site will also be a great central location for those in the community.

“The fact that the multi-service community hub will be situated in the former Timothy Eaton BTI lands means that it is already in a natural access point for the community given the proximity to the Bridlewood Mall and Bridlewood Library,” Nann said.

Teague Quon, a local resident, says the centre will provide better opportunities for the city’s youth.

“Right now we have no close community centre in the area where the youth can go and participate in organized activites, sports and other things like that,” Quon said.

“You have kids like my little brother who are staying inside, playing video games, watching TV. If we did have this centre, it would give them options to go outside, be active and be healthy.”