Pan Am building already causing buzz in Scarborough

Even though the new aquatic centre for the Pan Am games is in the early stages of construction, it has already proved to be a high conversation topic amongst community members.

The facility being built at the University of Toronto Scarborough campus is the biggest addition Toronto is adding for the event.

The centre will be a shared ownership between the University of Toronto and the city of Toronto. Students at UTSC have had an additional fee added to their tuition in order to help pay for the aquatic centre.

While the centre will be a good asset to the school post-Pan Am Games, some students do not think it is fair that they have this extra amount attached to an already high tuition fee.

“I’m upset at the amount of money I’m paying in campus fees to construct a centre that will most likely not benefit me.”

– Katie Flynn

The centre will be a great asset to the community as a whole, but Katie Flynn, a third-year student at UTSC says she has a hard time getting behind it because of how much the students are paying.

“I’m upset at the amount of money I’m paying in campus fees to construct a centre that will most likely not benefit me,” Flynn said. “It’s an outrageous amount of money; my tuition is up about $600.”

This is a popular feeling among some of the students, but there are others who see the positives it will bring the school, like new programs and sports teams.

With Toronto possessing the second half of the ownership, local swim clubs are excited at the prospect of a new, bigger, and better pool.

The Scarborough Swim Club hopes to use the facility after the Pan Am Games, which will allow it to expand its current programs to more children and to add new programs.

The director of the swim club, Chris Prendergast, said he hopes there will be “an influx of swimmers into whichever club is actually placed [at the aquatics centre], just like there was when Etobicoke took possession of the Olympium pool.”

Prendergast said the aquatics centre has the potential to be great for the Scarborough community, but is concerned at what the cost is going to be to get a permit at the pool.

“Preliminary indications [say] that the pool is going to cost about $200 an hour, which is a lot of money for anyone, even though it is a 50-metre pool,” Prendergast said. “It is [just] preliminary, but we want it being affordable so that more people can use it.”

With construction still in its early stages, it is hard to predict what the future will bring for the aquatics centre. One thing is certain, though; students, athletes, and community members have a world-class facility to look forward to in Scarborough.