With ‘something for everyone’, East Lions Community Center opens after years of delay

The East Lions Community Center is completed, four years after the groundbreaking ceremony for the $ 21.4 million project.

Construction of the 42,000 square foot facility was bogged down by delays due to procurement issues. It was due to open in 2019, but the original contractor was fired after subcontractors complained of non-payment. Perini Construction finally took over.

“It’s been such a tough journey to get here, and it feels like anything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong,” said Ward 2 Coun. Shawn Lewis.

“Whether it’s hardware issues or labor issues, COVID or redoing, there have been so many obstacles, and it’s so frustrating to have multiple summers of it. in a row where we haven’t had a community pool in the east since the kids to use. ”

During a tour of the completed Community Media Center, Lewis said he was eager to see the finishing touches on what he sees as a much-needed hub for those who live in the East London neighborhood.

“I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve,” Lewis said. “The gift is wrapped and it’s under the tree.”

The centre’s teaching kitchen includes a refrigerator, two stoves, two ovens, and stainless steel counters. (Angela McInnes / CBC)

Features of the East Lions Community Center, located at 1731 Churchill Avenue, include:

  • A 25-meter six-lane swimming pool
  • A smaller fun pool
  • A double gymnasium
  • Two multipurpose rooms
  • Two art rooms
  • A studio for activities like dance and yoga
  • Community kitchen
  • Reading room and study area
  • An outdoor play area
  • Solar panels on the roof generating energy for the building
  • Universal changing rooms
The activity studio features laminate floors, a ballet barre, and floor-to-ceiling mirrors. (Angela McInnes / CBC)

The design of the community center allows for optimal natural lighting, particularly in its double gymnasium and aquatic center.

“These are all modern, energy efficient techniques and we are very proud of them,” said Tim Wellhauser, City of London Fleet and Facilities Manager.

The Aquatic Center has a 25-meter six-lane pool and a smaller leisure pool for recreational swimming, lane swimming, ladies-only swim, and aqua fitness programs. (Angela McInnes / CBC)

East Lions was built to accommodate a range of leisure programs developed by the City of London. When it opens to the public on December 17, Londoners can sign up to try any city-sponsored activity at East Lions for free through January 17.

Lewis said the space will create opportunities for “intergenerational connections” between neighbors.

“This is an opportunity for the teenagers to come on a Friday night and have a space to play basketball or floor hockey. This is an opportunity for seniors to come and do yoga or play shuffleboard or pickleball in the park. There is something for every taste. he said.

“It will be a space that people come in and enjoy. They are going to feel welcome here.”

Everyone is welcome to register for an activity at the East Lions Community Center in the City of London. website.

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