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This article was published 30/11/2010 (3277 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
VOLUNTEERS trying to keep three community centres alive in River Heights by amalgamating their boards shared their vision at an open house Tuesday night.
The amalgamation of River Heights, Crescentwood and Sir John Franklin, has been dubbed "C4" or Central Corydon Community Campus. As it turns out, C4 is also the name for a plastic explosive that's a little more powerful than TNT.
The amalgamation idea has been kicked around for the last decade in River Heights and has become volatile in the past.
"A year ago, the groups began to collaborate on amalgamation," said project co-ordinator Marcella Poirier with BridgmanCollaborative Architecture. The firm was hired to help the community centres figure out what to do to keep their facilities open and viable, she said.
The plan isn't to close any of the three facilities, said Jim Carson, general manager of Crescentwood. The neighbourhood community centres are vital, serving a broad spectrum of people from various economic backgrounds, he said. "Whether you're driving a Cadillac or a broken-down bicycle, the community centre is there for you."
The amalgamation of the centres' boards will reduce duplication of services, Carson said.
"We have judo Tuesdays and Thursdays and River Heights has judo Tuesdays and Thursdays," for instance. Reducing duplication should free up more resources for more programs, he said.
"It would open up the facility for other things," he said.
The 45 volunteers on the three community centres' boards want to amalgamate so they can plan and budget programs to make the most of their strengths and user wants.
They decided non-revenue programs such as quilting clubs and moms-and-tots groups are as valuable to the community members as revenue-generating programs such as hockey and football, Poirier said.
River Heights Community Centre has a hockey arena, while the other two don't.
Sir John Franklin has structural problems and isn't very accessible — for now. Getting rid of the second floor used for bingo and as a multi-purpose area, making the basement a crawl space and having the entire facility at grade would make it more usable, Poirier said.
"It would be a more accessible, contemporary space for program development." But that's a discussion for a much later date, she said on the day of the public open house.
For now, the goal is to share budget management and programming. All three centres have their strengths. River Heights has an indoor arena, while Crescentwood is heavily programmed, Carson said. "Our facility is used to the max. We don't have space — we're turning things away... It's a nice problem to have but, once people are turned away, how do you get them back?"
The centres' boards want to make sure the public supports amalgamation before making it official, Poirier said.
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