Increase community services in Central Etobicoke

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PROBLEM:

Community services and supports are at the center of healthy and engaged individuals and families. Central Etobicoke, in the west end of Toronto, is an area of the city that lacks the number and density of community services (e.g. EarlyON centres and community recreation centres) found in other areas of the city (e.g. South Etobicoke, Parkdale-High Park).

For example, the East and West Mall corridors that parallel Highway 427 do not have access to any of the types of services available in neighbouring areas like The Kingsway. Furthermore, the City of Toronto recently decided that the EarlyON program that was running at the George Hull Centre location on West Mall & Bloor does not need to relocate in Etobicoke Centre because according to them there is already a high concentration of similar services.

However, although within a 2 km radius of the existing George Hull location there are 2 EarlyON sites (what used to be called Parenting and Family Literacy Centres before 2015), they are small classrooms inside public schools that don't offer full day or weekend programming, and don't offer the diverse range of programs tailored to different age groups, and they lack the connection to Toronto Public Health services.

Similarly, community recreation centres "play a key role in improving the health of individuals through increased physical activity." (as stated in the City of Toronto 2013-2017 Recreation Service Plan). Unfortunately, Central Etobicoke, with a population of almost 120,000 people, does not have any local community recreation centre to access for services, leaving a large gap in the community for access to family and individual health and wellness programs to be offered in one place (similar to the model of York Recreation Centre or Memorial Pool and Health Club). 

PROPOSED SOLUTION:

The City of Toronto needs to provide more community supports to individuals and families living in Central Etobicoke that are both highway and public transit accessible, such as:

- A dedicated full time EarlyOn centre that provides the full range of programs for children ages 0 to 6 years, which can benefit families from all income categories

- Community recreation centres that provide both fitness and community
programming for families and individuals (similar to the York Recreation Centre or Memorial Pool and Health Club)

- A dedicated space in the Etobicoke Civic Centre (current site at 399 The West Mall) to be used for different types of community services (e.g. EarlyON, community recreation centre)

- A commitment that any future redevelopment plans on the current site of the Etobicoke Civic Centre (at 399 The West Mall) include allocated space to be used for different types of community services (e.g. EarlyOn, community recreation centre)



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