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Rec. Centre Committee wins township backing, wish list finalized

Now an official committee of council, the Wellesley Recreation Centre Committee has finalized its wish-list for a proposed new rec. facility in the township.

The official designation came last week in a presentation to Wellesley council. Group chair Chris Martin approached councillors Aug. 27 with the request on behalf of the steering committee.

“It would help make our activities more public,” said Martin of the request to make things formal. “It would allow us and our activities to be covered under township insurance.

“I don’t think it changes necessarily what exactly we’re doing, it just makes it more formal and elevates the status.”

The committee of council designation specifically applies to the steering committee rather than the complete list of user group representatives. Those on the steering committee include Martin, Jeff Quint, Jeff Jantzi, John Pym, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Poshin Jobanputra, Lisa Parker, Joanne Fritz, Cindy Gowing and Troy Cluthe.

Before approving the decision, Ward 4 Coun. Carl Smit asked for a clarification of what it meant to be a “committee of council,” noting that it would be the township who got the final say when it came to decision-making.

“Most of the committees of council are advisory in nature. I don’t believe we have any committees of council that are decision-making bodies that I can think of,” replied chief administrative officer Rik Louwagie.

“It’s really just an arms-length of council to do some background work, some community engagement work, and report back to council with their thoughts and findings.”

After several consultations attended by Mayor Joe Nowak and recreation director Danny Roth, the committee sent in a full list of amenities that user groups agreed they would like to see in a new recreation complex.

The list includes an arena with NHL-sized ice rinks, seating and standing room for at least 500, a minimum of six dressing rooms, two rooms for female players, a Wellesley Applejacks team room, and ample storage space.

Other amenities that made the list include a walking track; seniors’/active living centre; youth centre; commercial kitchen, gymnasium/hall (possibly a temporary wall), fitness centre; male, female and gender-neutral change rooms; outdoor pool (five or six 25-metre lanes); soccer fields (recreation size with lighting); skateboard park; large and small meeting rooms; dog park; extended space for the fall fair; space and storage for a temporary stage; and an unheated storage shed for ABC Festival materials.

Martin said this could potentially add a variety of new programming options in the township if approved.

“This facility will allow programming that the township cannot do right now. Something that’s so obvious that other places have, such as in Elmira, is summer camps,” said Martin. “We don’t have summer camps here in Wellesley, so with a pool, gym, youth haven, soccer fields, skateboard park, all located in the same facility, summer camps could be run.”

The group also recommended that the most appropriate location for the complex is at Queens Bush and Hutchison roads due to the space for amenities and the possibility to expand the structure in the future.

Now that the wish-list has been agreed upon, the Wellesley Township Recreation Centre Committee will switch gears to examining fundraising opportunities, and reaching out to other communities in the township.

The user groups currently involved include the Wellesley Township Fall Fair & Agricultural Society, Wellesley Rec Service Board, Hawkesville Rec Service Board, Community Care Concepts, Wilmot Family Resource Centre, Wellesley Community Health Centre (youth), ABC Festival, Wellesley Lion’s Club, Wellesley Applejacks, Wellesley Skating Club, Men’s & Women’s Rec Hockey, Twin Centre Stars Minor Hockey, Twin Centre Hericanes Girls Hockey, Wellesley Curling Club, Skateboard Group and Theatre Wellesley.

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