As I write this article in early August, construction activity on the new arena remains on budget and heading towards a targeted completion that coincides with the start of the 2013-14 house league hockey season.
While work on the new rink proceeds, both the existing rink and the pool remain out of commission. This has come at a significant inconvenience to users of the pool in particular, but swimming patrons have been very patient and understanding throughout.
I can assure readers that forbearance of all concerned – and the financial contribution of countless local residents – will be rewarded when the new rink opens and Leasiders are presented with a transformed double-pad arena complex.
The opening of the new rink will be a landmark occasion by which Leaside residents can celebrate Leaside 100 – the 100th anniversary of the founding of the original Town of Leaside in 1913.
In the weeks ahead, Leaside residents will be asked to exercise similar forbearance when the community centre at Trace Manes Park undergoes its own major renovation project in the course of our milestone year.
It is somehow significant that the community centre was itself a centennial project that marked Leaside’s local gesture to celebrate Canada’s 100th anniversary in 1967. That was almost 50 years ago (46 to be exact – equal to the Leafs’ Stanley Cup drought). Users of the facility will vouch for the wear and tear that has shown up over those years.
Current plans call for the building to be closed for use at the end of September and for about 12 weeks immediately thereafter to enable the contractor to operate as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Much of the work to be done will focus on building systems and infrastructure. As such, it will be largely invisible to users. Work that will be noticed once the building reopens later in the year is expected to include:
– Improved front entrance and supervisor/customer service office;
– Upgraded doors, windows, floors, and ceilings;
– Reconfigured washrooms;
– New countertops in kitchen and washrooms;
– Improved room partition in tennis club space;
– Improved light fixtures;
– Improved plumbing fixtures;
– Improved heating, cooling, and ventilation;
– Improved signage in accordance with city standards.
As with any renovation project, the work entailed will of course cause temporary inconvenience to the many residents who use the facility each day. Staff are under instruction to take every measure reasonably available to them to deliver a satisfactory result but to keep the project on time and on budget.
In the end, I look forward to a fresh, improved, community centre that will give us all one more thing to celebrate in our Leaside 100 year.