Nineteen years. That’s how long London City Councillor Shawn Lewis says east London has been waiting for its indoor pool and community centre.
And, it turns out residents will still have to wait a bit longer for the 42,000 sq. ft. facility to be completed.
Lewis says the completion date of the project, along Wavell Street on the grounds of East Lions Park, has been pushed back again.
He acknowledges it’s been too long, given larger community centres built in other areas of the city were completed in shorter time frames.
“I absolutely understand it, I understand their frustration. Especially when you realize, this has been pushed back from fall of 2018, to June of 2019, to fall of 2019, and now, well, we really hope to have a soft open by the end of the year."
The East Community Centre, as it will be known, is a $22-million project consisting of two swimming pools, a full-size gymnasium, community areas and meeting rooms.
Tammy Wong, who lives across the street from the new structure, along its east side on Edmonton Street, says the wait has been too long.
“I would love for it to be open when it is supposed to be, but it's not going to be.”
She plans to hit the pools as soon as it is.
Lewis says most residents are understanding, given the reality of several construction challenges.
They’ve included a labour dispute, May 2019’s heavy and frequent rains and a bitterly cold winter.
Each of them have cost the project weeks of construction time, Lewis says.
The councillor adds he expects the East Community Centre will now have a soft opening at the end of this year, with all facilities ready to use by 2020.
The neighbouring East Lions Park is also getting a makeover. It will be ready for summer 2020.