By RON FANFAIR
A Toronto-designated priority neighbourhood will benefit from over $1 million in provincial and federal funding.
Ontario’s Minister of Health Promotions, Margarett Best, has announced that the East Scarborough Boys and Girls Club, located in the Kingston-Galloway community, will receive $1,222,933 in joint funding for energy retrofit, the installation of a new gymnasium and other refurbishments.
“The funding will transform the club into one of Scarborough’s key community hubs for young people,” said Best, who is the only Black Member of the provincial parliament. “It’s anticipated that the building expansion will allow the club to reach up to an additional 200 children each day”.
The community club currently services nearly 16,000 young people, ranging in age from one to 24. Work on the 8,500 square foot expansion project will begin next year.
“Our joint federal and provincial funding effort is to ensure adequate facilities for sport and recreation in a central area, not only for improving rates of physical activity but, ultimately, to improve health,” said Best, the MPP for Scarborough-Guildwood. ‘Participation in sport, physical activity and recreation provides so many benefits to our physical, economic and social well-being. This investment in recreational facilities is part of a broader commitment to stimulate Ontario’s economy through unprecedented and targeted infrastructural spending.”
The club runs three daycare centres, while providing programs ranging from child care and life skills to leadership training and pre-employment in 10 satellite locations in East Scarborough.
Trichelle Primo, the club’s youth council president, thanked both levels of government for the financial assistance.
“The funding will help us continue to provide safe, quality programs in the community,” she said. “It means so much to us to know that we will soon have a newly renovated building. This is an opportunity for more space to run more programs on site.”
The East Scarborough Boys and Girls club, which employs nearly 70 full-time staff for most of the year, made a submission for the funding last May. The renovations are expected to start in April and be finished by November.
Executive director Ron Rock said the club will rent space in East Scarborough to run its programs while renovations are being done.
“That’s going to be quite a challenge but what is good about this is that we have just under a year to prepare for that,” he said. “We don’t mind being displaced for a few months, because we have to look at the big picture and what it represents. The funding provides us with an opportunity, really, to engage young people and build their life skills, so that they can become better citizens.
“The funding will also allow us to bring some of our satellites home and reach out to other community-based organizations without a home so they can use this facility.”
Best also announced nearly $4 million in funding for other city projects in the Scarborough-Guildwood area. They include the Scarborough Village and Cedar Brook community centres, Peter Secor Park and Global Kingdom Ministries Inc.
“We are helping communities build and improve facilities which will provide access to sport and recreation and further enable residents of Scarborough-Guildwood to lead healthy, more active lives,” said Best. “Additionally, these six projects will boost the local economy and create much needed jobs.”
Paul Calandra, Member of Parliament for Oak Ridges, who attended last week’s press conference to announce the funding for recreational upgrades, said: “Thanks to the strong relationship between our two governments, we can work together to help create strong communities and help the economy thrive.”
The club, located at 100 Galloway Rd., has been providing neighbourhood solutions to community and social needs through its flagship social and recreational facility, as well as its local neighbourhood satellite locations, for the past 50 years.