A year after losing their community club to a devastating fire, Elmwood residents had the opportunity to discuss the future of East Elmwood Community Centre last week.
Dozens of residents attended a city organized meeting last week at Hampstead School to discuss the club’s future. The meeting was facilitated by a local architecture firm Scatliff+Miller+Murray.
East Elmwood currently has $1.1 million from insurance money to go towards the rebuilding effort, while the city and province are working together to formulate a plan to fund the remaining amount of the project.
Lifelong Elmwood resident Amanda Young said she’s happy the process to replace the destroyed club has finally begun.
"I think it’s moving in the right direction. It’s what we were hoping for, we weren’t forgotten about," Young said.
"To have these meetings we know something is happening and it allows the community to have a voice."
Preliminary plans discussed at the meeting include a regulation size gym, skateboard park, and constructing the building at a new location that will be more visible to the community.
The centre would likely need to utilize other green spaces in the area to provide additional space and programming options.
The former EECC was located on Beach Avenue but was facing the rear of houses and was only accessible via back lane.
Some potential locations discussed were Keenleyside, HAP Hopkinson Memorial, and Armstrong parks.
Young said she originally wanted to see the centre rebuilt on the former site but understands that times have changed and there are other needs in the community.
"I grew up with the club where it was, but things change and there’s a denser population near the Keenleyside Park," she said.
"It could potentially serve more kids there."
Concordia MLA Matt Wiebe, whose riding includes a portion of the Elmwood area, said the province is working with the city to find the funds necessary to fulfill the community’s dream.
"We want to partner with the city and provide for this project. We want to make sure it suits the needs of the community as best we can," Wiebe said.
"We’re definitely stepping to the table, but how that will look at the end is fluid. Details are still being worked out."
Coun. Thomas Steen (Elmwood-East Kildonan) said the consultation process with residents will help ensure the community gets the club it wants.
"I thought the consultation for the Kelvin site was fantastic, and I think the people who attended feel that they were heard," Steen said.
"I hope this will be just as great. I think it can be a fantastic community centre in the area there."