I wanted to take a quick moment to provide some commentary on my view of the future for Park Community Centre.
As many of you are probably aware a report is coming to our city council meeting on Monday evening. This report recommends the decommission and demolition of Park Community Centre in 2020.
First off, thank you to everyone who has reached out to share their thoughts on what Park Community Centre means to the community, and overall commentary about the importance of community centres in our city.
As a Councillor who represents a ward with two historic community centres (West end and Valleyview), I realize the full value these facilities bring to our neighborhoods, and the city as a whole. Further to this, I had the good fortune to sit on the central council of community centres (the governing body of community centres in Brandon). I have long been a proponent of what these facilities bring to our neighborhoods, and was pleased to chair the board at Valleyview as we ushered the facility through a truly transformational change. It really was a great example of the community, the city, and area residents coming together to find a greater purpose for a community space.
These centres have long been a gathering place, a social record for the area, and a beacon indicating opportunity for fellowship. Park, in many cases, was close and still is to the heartbeat of the area.
My fellow council members and I will deliberate this request at the Monday meeting. I don’t often do this ahead of time, but I wanted to share that I plan not to support the recommendation to demolish at this time. I feel demolition may be the solution for the current building (based on the air quality and structural concerns), but in the present more consultation needs to happen with both the user groups and the residents of the area about the ultimate purpose for this space long-term. It will take time, but residents need to be informed and given options to reimagine this space.
As it stands currently, the deficiencies at Park have come to a point where the building is a safety concern, so a short-term closure happens merely from a risk management perspective (as was the case with Valleyview). But we have a real opportunity here to talk with residents of the community and make a decision that benefits those same residents.
As always, I welcome your feedback. Email email@example.com or call (204) 724-0334.