Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/5/2007 (4663 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Premier Gary Doer has promised to expand Southdale Community Centre as part of an overall $60-million pledge for Manitoba community centres. He made the pledge over the weekend at a campaign event featuring recent NDP recruit Erin Selby, who is trying to steal the Southdale seat from the Tories.
But the city and the General Council of Winnipeg Community Centres have yet to decide which projects to pursue as they complete a $43-million recreational facility overhaul that began in 2006.
Southdale Community Centres $12.6-million expansion plan is just one of seven projects under consideration by the council over the next three years.
Other possible candidates as determined by five years of city studies and community consultation include improvements to Winakwa, Crescentwood, Victoria, Notre Dame, Park City West and Linden Woods community centres.
The Southdale announcement has fanned flames of resentment at nearby Winakwa Community Centre, whose $1.8-million gym expansion is the only other southeast Winnipeg recreational project under consideration by the council.
Im really ticked off about it. Weve had this project on the go since 1999, long before Southdale, said Winakwa president Pat Krueger, a 22-year volunteer at the Windsor Park facility.
Council president Steve Bemrose welcomed the NDP announcement of more community-centre funding, but said the Southdale plan which calls for a new arena, gym and indoor soccer venue does not qualify for city funding right now.
Neither does the Winakwa project. But that could change if Winnipegs population increases or nearby community centres amalgamate or close, he said.
The money the premier has announced is great, but I would have liked to see that go to (all) the community centres in Winnipeg, said Bemrose, whose non-profit agency was created in attempt to depoliticize the process of doling out funds to improve community centres.
Everybody thinks their own little centre is the right project.
Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz also welcomed Doers announcement, noting the city needs to build on the $43-million community centre plan that has only put a minor dent in the citys $400 million recreation infrastructure deficit.
But like Bemrose, Katz said it would have been nice to allow the council to determine which projects take priority.
We have a department that deals with community centres and if more money becomes available, it would be nice if we were working together on those types of projects, said the mayor, referring to the province.
If everybodys going off in different directions, its not the best situation.
Katz said the NDP did not consult with the city about the Southdale announcement, which included a Doer pledge to cover one-third of the cost.
The mayor also said one-third, one-third, one-third cost-sharing arrangements between three levels of government are not fair, considering the province and federal government have access to more sources of taxation revenue than the city.
The mayor said Southdale Community Centre has a strong volunteer base and a proven track record for fundraising, but is not first on the citys list of community centre projects.
Expanding Southdale may place the city in the awkward position of having to shrink or close another community club, which could spawn a painful debate similar to the anguish that surrounded the closure of Kelvin Community Centre in Elmwood.
In an effort to streamline the citys 71 struggling, dilapidated community centres, Winnipeg froze the total square footage of the citys rec centres unless the population increases.
Doer was unavailable for comment Tuesday evening, but finance minister and right-hand-man Greg Selinger said the suggestion that Doer is helping Southdale jump the queue is incorrect.
I dont think he was trying to short-circuit any process, said Selinger. He was simply recognizing the growing demographic there.
There may be other cash available for deserving clubs such as Winakwa, he added.
The NDP also said the premier isnt bound by city processes when making campaign promises, and the premier simply pledged to make Southdale a priority when negotiating with the city and Ottawa over future rec funding deals.
During the provincial election, Doers team has poured considerable campaign resources into Southdale, a Tory-held riding where incumbent MLA Jack Reimer faces a challenge from former TV personality Selby.
Winakwa president Krueger, however, said she isnt convinced election politics are at play.
Politicians keep changing and promises keep changing, she said. Im just looking for somebody to stand up for us for a change.
email@example.com SEVEN CANDIDATES FOR CASH
Community Centre projects under consideration over the next three years by the Greater Council of Winnipeg Community Centres:
Crescentwood: Seeks a $1.6 million expansion.
Linden Woods: Wants to build a $3.1 million gym.
Notre Dame: Looking to add a $250,000 vestibule.
Park City West: Desires to add healthy living centre and indoor arena at a total cost of $3 million.
Southdale: Wants to add an arena, indoor soccer and gym for a total cost of $12.6 million.
Victoria: Plans to replace existing centre with an expanded fieldhouse. Requires $1.44 million.
Winakwa: Desires a $1.8 million gymnasium addition.
Source: City of Winnipeg