It was April Fool’s Day, but the announcement was no joke. The Federal and Provincial governments teamed up on Thursday to make $6 million in funding available for three local community centres in Guelph and Wellington County. To reduce the impacts of COVID, create job growth and invest in the future, HOPE House, YMCA of Three Rivers in Guelph, and the Elora Community Centre are getting some help with renovations.
“Investing in community, culture, and recreational infrastructure is essential to creating healthy and inclusive communities,” said Guelph MP Loyd Longfield in a statement. “Today’s investments will allow residents in Elora and Guelph to have continued and improved access to essential recreational facilities and community services.”
HOPE House is currently in the progress of renovating their home base at the corner of Norfolk and Cork Streets including masonry upgrades to make the 100-year-old church building more accessible, and the rehabilitation of the building’s flat roof. According to the executive director of HOPE House, the renovations to the building will make it easier to expand their services to Guelph’s neediest residents.
“This funding will help us ensure a safe and attractive space for our community members and community partners,” said Jaya James. “Poverty-related issues such as food insecurity and unemployment have increased significantly because of COVID-19. This grant helps us ensure that to the greatest extent possible the generous gifts of our donors can be used to help meet these urgent needs.”
The Woodland Glen location of YMCA of Three Rivers in Guelph are also getting an upgrade in the form of a three-storey addition to the building that will add 2,000 square feet to the facility. The extra room will allow for a new customer service desk plus fully accessible private changing stalls and more accessible recreational space.
“The troubling impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on child and youth mental health has drastically increased the need for accessible mental health services for this population,” said Peter Sweeney, the CEO of YMCA of Three Rivers. “We look forward to building on the success achieved in collaboration with our community partners over the last 3 years and are incredibly grateful for this newfound support into the future.”
In Elora, the Community Centre is getting a new arena floor, board, and glass, plus upgrades to the front entrance, dressing rooms, viewing areas, washrooms, doorways and corridors, as well as an emergency generator and solar panels. The Government is contributing $3.4 million towards these projects, and the Ontario government is providing $2.8 million. These funds are in addition to money already raised by the facility owners to fund the renovations.
“The Ontario government continues to demonstrate a firm commitment to take action in helping communities be more accessible, modern, and inclusive,” said Stephen Crawford, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Infrastructure. “Expanding and enhancing community centres in Guelph and Elora will help create well-paying jobs and maintain the physical, mental, and social health of local residents for many decades to come.”