Monday, March 07, 2011

South Side Y

After lunch, I had a few errands to walk to in the downtown, so I did them and strolled over to the Laurier Carnegie Building. The reason for this walk, wasn't so much for the exercise, however it was a nice walk, but to get information about the new Y-Laurier complex that is going to be built in Brantford. While there, I took out my cellphone and took a few pictures of the work that was portrayed.

Unfortunately I missed any opening remarks, so I just took the pictures and then this evening did the reading.

Right off the bat, the concept drawings are quite impressive. It is going to be a fantastic structure on the south side, right across the street from Harmony Square. I imagine the plan and hope is to have both facilities draw off from each other to create a truly harmonic part of the downtown.

What is also interesting is the fact that part of the roof will be even with Colborne Street, thus creating a plaza that is easily accessible from the downtown, and while there is going to be activity on the roof, it will also be a place to relax and enjoy the view of the city.

Part of the local paper gave this quote from the spokesperson of the company that designed the concept:
Plans call for the 115,000-square-foot building to include: a double gym with retractable bleachers; a multi-purpose gym; a six-lane, 25-metre pool; and an aquatic "teach tank" with moveable floor.

There also would be a student lounge, yoga studio, and open green areas that could incorporate indigenous plants and public art.

Space would be reserved for a possible third gym, said Ross Carter-Wingrove, associate vice-president of Cannon Design.

"It is an extremely unique site. It's almost an escarpment. (The designs) nestle the building into the surroundings with terraced landscaping."

Sounds great, it is good the designers decided to incorporate what they have to work with, rather then forcing something to fit. It will be a boon to the downtown to have a nice place to exercise and enjoy the outdoors, especially in the warm weather.

The article goes on to state that it will be a 115,000 sq foot building. The price tag for it will be $50,000,000- fifty million dollars.

However there is one major problem for this project, and it is the same problem that has dogged it almost from the beginning- its all dependent on the various levels of government pitching in. One of the photographs shows the logo for the Canadian Economic Action Plan, the program of the federal government to provide stimulus funding to get the local economies going again after the recession. The question is, the logo, is it wishful thinking, or was it for the concept development only, or is there a chance that a cheque will be cut to pay for a fair percentage of the project.

The vice-president of facility development at the Y said it clearly:
It all hinges on funding. We will be going to all levels of government and the community for support. It's going to take all of us to do this.

In other words, no money, no Y, without funding it remains simply very nice drawings.

This could be a problem. To date funding has not been coming, in fact funding for projects that has to do with the University has been slow; the Academic and Research Centre was only started when funding finally came through, for a time it was simply a very large hole in the ground along Dalhousie. Is there any guarantees? Perhaps if Phil McColeman and Dave Levac could do another one of their 'bringing big cheques' together there is hope. Then again with at least one election coming up, the provincial, and another on the way, maybe, the federal, it will be a nice backdrop for both of them. I think if they could do this, they will guarantee each other's re-election for many years to come.

It does sound and look fantastic. However it is the question of funding that is the sticker isn't it. While it will cover, if the article is correct about half of the south side, what can be developed with the rest of the land?

There are still a lot of questions that will be asked and hopefully a few answers will come our way.

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