On June 11, Guelph’s Community and Social Services Committee will receive a
recommending a new community centre in the city’s south end—an area that has seen significant population growth.
Staff will ask City Council to endorse the proposed location, refer the proposed costs—an estimated $59 million—to the 2015 capital budget process, and direct staff to continue discussions about possible shared space uses with potential partner organizations.
The recommendations are based on the results of a citywide needs assessment and feasibility study of existing recreational facilities and programs.
“We collaborated with residents and recreational user groups, online and in-person, to determine and develop a plan that best reflects the community’s recreational needs, now and in the future,” says Derrick Thomson, executive director of Community and Social Services, adding, “The feasibility study reaffirms the need for a south end community centre.” The need for a new facility in the south end was first identified in the City’s 2009 Recreation, Parks and Culture Strategic Master Plan.
The seven-month study involved an inventory and analysis of existing conditions, programs and facilities; a needs assessment to identify and prioritize current and projected recreation needs,; identifying and evaluating community-generated ideas; identifying a preferred option with costs and concept drawings; and creating a plan for implementation.
Following an evaluation of five potential sites, the City-owned land located within South End Community Park and immediately south of Bishop Macdonell Catholic High School on Poppy Drive has been identified as the most feasible and cost-effective location for the new community centre. This was based on several criteria including land size and configuration, access to local public transit, proximity to other municipality-owned facilities, and Guelph’s official plan and zoning.
“We think the site will work well, and allow for a mix of indoor and outdoor recreation facilities and programming because it’s close to the high school, South End Community Park, and the Larry Pearson ball diamonds,” Thomson explains.
The proposed 150,000-square-foot facility includes two ice rinks, an aquatics complex, seniors’ programming space, multi-purpose gymnasium, and meeting rooms. Further design work and engagement with community members, stakeholders and key user groups will continue into 2015 to finalize the specific building components.