Sydney's Southend Community Centre reopens at new location after flood
Angie MacDonald cried when she watched her community centre in Cape Breton fall to the wrecking ball in January.
The Southend Community Centre on Sydney's Hillview Street, in operation since 1997, had to be demolished after it was severely damaged in an October flood.
"It was devastating not just for myself, but for everyone — all the staff, all the volunteers, students, parents," said MacDonald, the centre's administrator and program manager.
New location 'ideal'
Monday was a happy day, as MacDonald reopened the centre in its new location. The non-profit group is leasing the new building, the former Mira Road Elementary School on George Street, from the province.
"The new location is ideal," she said. "We have access to a gymnasium, a large backyard, a playground is already set up there and it's going to be easier to maintain."
Volunteers and staff worked through the weekend to clean, paint and get ready for the opening.
Programs already running
A martial arts and an after-school program are already up and running while work continues on the building.
The centre's executive director, Rick Fraser, said the gym will allow a greater reach into the community for entertainment and sports.
"We're hoping to develop some recreational basketball teams and leagues, maybe some recreational volleyball, badminton, floor hockey."
Fraser said he expects the cost of operations to be affordable — between $70,000 and $80,000 a year. He said the centre should be able to cover that through programming and user fees.
Non-profit groups are expected to join the centre next month. The centre has been advertising the new space on social media and is offering administrative support and the use of a new boardroom.
A grand opening is planned for September.