Shovels are finally in the ground after a funding-related delay pushed back the start of construction on the Bathurst–Finch Community Hub.
The hub, which is being built next to Northview Heights Secondary School on lands leased by Unison Health Community Services from the Toronto District School Board, was originally slated for completion by the end of 2011, but completion is now scheduled for the end of 2012.
A senior director at Unison, the non-profit organization leading the project, said securing funds from various contributors such as United Way Toronto and the provincial and federal governments held the construction back.
“It was a pretty complex project in that regard,” said Julie Callaghan. “We have a number of different funders, with different expectations and different timelines for spending the funds, so we had to make sure we had that all worked out.”
As a result, the official groundbreaking and construction started in July, later than they had hoped for.
“With these projects, you can’t be absolutely certain when it’s going to be completely finished and opened,” Callaghan said. “I’m hoping (it will be opened) by the end of 2012 at the very latest.”
The total cost for the two-storey, roughly 1,600 square metre building is about $8.5 million, said Callaghan. The first floor will have a number of community and social service agencies available to nearby residents, including Family Services Toronto and North York Community House.
Others partners include Circle of Care, which offers services aimed toward seniors, their families and caregivers, and JVS Toronto, an employment agency.
There will also be community spaces available on the ground floor, for group seminars and meetings. Residents will also be able to rent out community space free of charge.
On the second floor, Unison Health and Community Services will have a community health centre, a diabetes education centre as well as a dental clinic run through a partnership with Toronto Public Health.
Callaghan said the construction team has completed building the foundation.
This means continuing the construction into the winter will not affect the timeline.
“The great thing is that they’re out of the ground,” she said. “I’m not an expert on construction, but my understanding is that was really key.”
She also added there have been no significant cost overruns and all is going according to plan apart from the delayed opening.
“Things are going very smoothly at this point,” Callaghan said.
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