Oshawa Council gets a look at the future Northwest Community Centre project Monday

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Published June 23, 2023 at 3:13 pm

The future Northwest Oshawa Community Centre and Windfields Park will be up for debate Monday but Oshawa councillors will likely deal with the financial implications at a later time, with the just released comprehensive analysis report used as an information tool.

There’s plenty of taxpayer dollars at stake in the project, with a proposal revealed early last year that would contain a library and seniors centre, a six-lane swimming pool, gym and fitness room, indoor activity rooms and outdoor amenities, including splash pads, a playground, trails and a sports field that carried a price tag of $162 million with a completion date of mid-2026.

The Component Analysis, which was performed between January and March of this year by Monteith Brown Planning Consultants and MJMA Architecture & Design, took that wish list a little further, bumping the lanes in the pool to eight, the single gym to a triple gymnasium, adding a 500-capacity community hall and a FIFA-regulation synthetic indoor surface in a fieldhouse or dome.

The new components would hike the price tag to $250 million or more and put in jeopardy the 2026 timeline, which staff noted in its own report would make the City non-compliant for some of the outside funding that is contingent on the project being “substantially completed” by March 2026.

The changes and the subsequent financial implications prompted staff to recommend Council receive the report for information instead of voting for one of the two options at Monday’s meeting.

The new community centre, which will be located at Thornton Road North and the future Britannia Avenue West extension, between Winchester Road/Highway 407 to the north and Conlin Road to the south, will be a multi-use, multi-generational and multi-seasonal destination, regardless of its final design.

 

Facility components on the wish list, according to the consultant’s needs assessment report, include:

  • Indoor Aquatics Centre: a 25-metre lane rectangular pool with a minimum of 8 lanes plus a separate leisure pool and separate therapeutic pool, designed with sport-friendly and age-friendly features in mind.
  • OSCC55+ Branch: a 6,000 square foot branch dedicated to older adult programs and services to support the wide range of social, physical, arts and cultural, educational and other activities offered by OSCC55+.
  • Oshawa Public Libraries Branch: a 20,000 square foot library branch to deliver a broad range of materials, equipment, programs and services.
  • Triple Gymnasium: a triple gym that includes adequate playout dimensions, ceiling heights and floor surfacing while reflecting the needs of City and OSCC55+ programs along with those of local sport organizations.
  • Fitness Centre: a fitness centre with weight-training, group fitness studio and indoor walking/running track along with high intensity interval and functional training, on-demand technologies for self-directed participation, and other fitness industry trends as part of its design.
  • Synthetic Turf Field: an indoor synthetic surface field designed to FIFA regulation size housed within a permanent fieldhouse structure or using an air-supported structure (potentially installed on a seasonal basis atop an outdoor synthetic field).
  • Multi-Purpose Rooms: for meetings, programs and gatherings that enable a flexible range of community uses.
  • Community Hall: a hall with a capacity of up to 500 that enable large gatherings such as receptions, business functions, smaller-scale community performances, and programs delivered by the City, OSCC55+ and Oshawa Public Libraries. The Hall should be partitionable in order to maximize booking and programming flexibility.
  • Community Kitchen: a kitchen capable of supporting culinary programs in support of food literacy, food security, social enterprise and use of the community hall among members of the public as well as those programs and events delivered by the City, OSCC55+ and Oshawa Public Libraries.
  • Arts & Cultural Considerations: design facility components and common areas in a manner that enables the delivery of community-level arts and cultural programming by the City, OSCC55+ and Oshawa Public Libraries. Space for small-scale displays and exhibits, community gatherings and use of public art in interior and exterior areas should also be included.
  • Indigenous Communities: engage an Indigenous consultant and Indigenous communities to inform the integration of indoor and outdoor spaces that are reflective of, and conducive to Indigenous communities including dedicated spaces.
  • Social Space: modern community centres are also being used for non-programmed activities such as passive social gatherings, areas for personal relaxation and contemplation, or other activities that do not involve active participation in a sport or registered program.
  • Equity, Diversity & Inclusion: ensure principles of inclusivity are met including adherence to – or exceeding – standards and best practices pertaining to barrier-free accessibility, provision of space for neuro-diverse individuals, and quiet rooms for community centre staff and patrons.
  • General: provide sufficient spaces for storage and those working in the community centre as well as a flexible and functional facility layout.

Library coverage in Oshawa

There will also be a need for sports fields, hard surface courts, splash pads, play structures, and public art at a minimum at the community centre and park, though staff did note in its report that the addition of the indoor sports field would “significantly reduce” the land available for outdoor use and add extra design work as well.

Other amenities that will be explored include areas for outdoor skating, seating and shaded spaces for socialization, and community gatherings.

The analysis also noted that Whitby’s new community centre is just six kilometres from Oshawa’s proposed community centre/park. Based on Whitby’s architectural design concept, its new community centre is proposed to include:

  • Twin-pad arena with NHL regulation size ice pads;
  • 25 metre, 10 lane pool with a separate leisure pool and upper-level viewing area;
  • Double gymnasium with three-lane walking track;
  • Program spaces for meetings, gatherings and arts and cultural activities; and
  • Outdoor recreation facilities including a multi-use sports field, skateboard park and pump track, hard surface courts, and waterplay feature.

For more information on the proposed project in northwest Oshawa, the first major community centre in the city in nearly 20 years, and the consultant’s report, see Northwest Oshawa Community Centre

 

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