Councillor’s Corner - May 2014

Hello Friends,

The nice weather seems to be timidly showing itself from time to time, unfortunately not yet showing signs of staying ­– however, one of the benefits the upcoming summer weather is the increase of outdoor activity seen throughout our parks. From the young players of ball hockey and soccer to those simply enjoying their morning or evening walks, its always a pleasure to see the athletic involvement throughout our community.

Many years ago prior to amalgamation, the city’s West end was in heavy discussion to receive a mega community centre with state of the art equipment and facilities. When the city amalgamated in 1997 we lost the ability to continue with those discussions and the city’s West end fell out of priority with the Downtown core receiving the bulk of the benefits from amalgamation. As the local Councillor for Ward 7, I raised the issue early on after amalgamation and in 1999 a “Recreation Needs and Feasibility Study” identified Ward 7 as one of five areas of priority for a new community centre. When that list was created I ensured the agreement for Ward 7 included a condition that the new centre would include an aquatic facility with an Olympic-size pool. The funds for this facility were also secured in 1999 and have been available since. However, as the most Westerly area of the city, we continue to seek an appropriate location for our new community centre. There have been many discussions over the last few years to find the space to build this type of facility. In fact, the main reason it has taken so long to begin is because of lack of land availability for the city to build on. It was and still is, in my opinion, wasteful to build this type of facility on leased land. I could not support the spending of tax payers funds on a project of this magnitude without the equity of land value for the tax payers. As such, Carmine Stefano Community Centre as an existing building became a leased facility as a short term solution to meet our recreational needs. I am hopeful that we will be able to secure a site directly in Ward 7 in the near future to build this wonderful and much needed centre planned so many years ago.

Youth athletics and activity is a long-standing tradition in Ward 7 that I have worked very hard to maintain on all levels. There are currently many youth sports organizations providing invaluable experiences to the children of our community. Soccer fields, hockey rinks, tennis courts and cricket pitches are well-represented in terms of athletics and facilities locally based, however swimming facilities are not. An Olympic-size pool and aquatic centre would be an incredible asset to our community and to the West end of the city. For everyone from the young Phelp’s fans to athletically engaged seniors an aquatic centre is a benefit for all of us to enjoy. It is my hope that when this centre is built, Ward 7 can add an Emery Village Swim Club to its list of athletic groups.

- Ward 7 Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti