Pasqua Neighbourhood Recreation Centre will be closed and Councillor Bryce, whose ward this in, is not amused.

Hers was the lone vote against the move. (As far as I could tell. Votes are done with a quick show of hands. It’s possible I missed one on the left side of the room. If so. My apologies to the forgotten dissenter.)

It was pointed out by the mayor and others though (and this is the silver lining in the closure cloud mentioned in the header) that along with the closure of the Centre, the city will be embarking on a visioning process to redevelop Regent Park to make it a community hub. Possible improvements include an accessible play structure, a spray pad, picnic area, skateboard facility, and a new basketball court. So, the neighbourhood will be losing a decrepit building but will likely gain some new facilities out of this.

Fair trade? You tell me.

Still, Bryce’s concern was that this visioning is only being done now, after the Pasqua Centre is all but closed. Plus, after questioning administration, she learned the money saved from the centre’s closure will not be remaining in the community.  Seeing as that neighbourhood is a low income one that really needs community facilities, her hope was that the thousands saved from the decommissioning would be set aside for supporting the area. (Many others on council agreed with her on this.)

Other fun facts to come out of the discussion of this report:
• This is the first time council has decommissioned a community centre.
• The Pasqua Centre was once a school (as Barb pointed out in comments to an earlier post). It was one of four built around the same time. The other three were torn down long ago. Clearly, these were disposable buildings.
• There was also something about the last time the city built a community centre was like 30 years ago but I’m going to have to double check that because that can’t be right.

Everyone who spoke on the closure expressed regret but ultimately the hefty bill to maintain the building was the deciding factor and the Pasqua Neighbourhood Recreation Centre is now slated to be shut down effective June 30, 2011.

Meanwhile, right near the end of tonight’s meeting, Councillor Clipsham embarked upon an interesting line of questioning over the apartment building slated for Scarth and 15th. He’d heard from many in the community that they would prefer to see that building be affordable rental (it’s going to be high-end condos).

With that in mind, he wanted to know if the city administration would be able to find out what the percentage of housing is rental and affordable in the downtown and adjacent areas. Then he pointed out that we’d be able to get that information from the 2001 and 2006 censuses.

That however raised the issue of the current census which Harper’s Conservatives have decided will be a voluntary one and thus the quality of the data harvested from it will be of questionable quality.

City staff pointed out that they will have to assess whether this year’s census data will be usable in their planning processes and pointed out that they will have to consider commissioning other surveys “which will have a resource impact on the city.”

So… Harper and pals told us they were just trying to protect our privacy by making the census voluntary and, hey, no worries anyway because the census is one of those things that’s only used by tweed-wearing academics who love to leach off the public teat.

Turns out though that what the feds have actually done is succeeded in downloading one more public service onto municipalities.


All the other items on tonight’s agenda were approved including the $25,000 in operating funds for the RCMP Heritage Centre, the Hawkstone concept plan, the Pasqua Hospital parking lot, the back alley maintenance levy increase, the Greens on Gardner Phase II and the collective agreements with city workers.