Councillor Pasternak wants community space to offer free rec
(Written April 4 for Town Crier.)
Residents in the under-served Antibes community shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket for rec programs offered at the local community centre, councillor James Pasternak says.
The Ward 10 rep is asking city council to consider making the Antibes Community Centre, located off Bathurst Street, north of Finch Avenue, a designated priority centre.
City program fees continue to increase, and programs formerly offered for free now have costs, Pasternak said. This is affecting participation rates in a neighbourhood where the average annual family income is about $30,000 lower than Toronto’s average.
“Making (Antibes) a priority centre is crucial for Ward 10,” Pasternak said. “It would allow unfettered access to recreation. It would help newcomers and low-income residents.”The community centre offers arts, sports, health and wellness and camp programming.
Pastnernak said recreation fees are currently waived at 21 priority centres in Toronto’s lower income neighbourhoods. Wards in Etobicoke-North and York-West have two priority centres each, Toronto-Rosedale’s Ward 28 has three, while Pasternak’s has none.
The community development and recreation committee gave the motion a green light, but it will face challenges at council given a fee waive at the centre will cost the city between $250,000-300,000 annually in lost revenue.
“There is enormous competition for finite dollars but Ward 10 has been left behind for years,” Pasternak said April 4. “My goal is to preserve programs and enhance services.”
Making the Antibes facility a priority centre will need council approval on April 12-13.