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A hub for the whole community

Pelham hosts Meridian Community Centre grand opening

Pelham’s new Meridian Community Centre is a place for moments that matter in the community, says Mayor Dave Augustyn.

Augustyn and Ward 3 Coun. John Durley said the centre — which features two gymnasiums, twin-pad hockey arena, a large community multi-purpose space, indoor walking track and community meeting rooms — is a hub for the whole community.

“This is the greatest thing that could have happened to the Town of Pelham,” said Durley in an interview shortly before a grand opening ceremony Saturday morning.

“This is a meeting palce, a gathering place. Everyone that comes through here has nothing but positive remarks about it. We are so excited.”

Despite all of the positive reviews and praise, the councillor said there will always be critics of the $36-million project, which was completed on time and under budget by $705,949.

But if some of those naysayers were to tour the facility, they might actually change their minds when they see all there is to do not only for youth but for the whole community, Durley said.

Land, some 202 hectares on the west side of Rice Road at Regional Road 20, was purchased in 2003 when Durley was first elected to Pelham council. Residents wanted to see the town sell it all off though it had been added to the urban boundary in the years prior.

The town kept a portion of the purchased land for community centre development.

“I was firm in saying that you can’t create land and if we sold it we’d never have another opportunity to get land like this. Even a few of the councillors who were first opposed to this changed their minds afterward.”

Durley said with Pelham being in the centre of Niagara, Meridian Community Centre will become a focal point in the region and still keep a small-town feel about it.

Augustyn agreed that will be a focal point in the community and added he’s seen residents from across Niagara inside the new facility checking out its amenities.

While other community centres in the region are built on the edge of a community, away from residential areas and the people that use them, Augustyn said Pelham’s has a community being built around it now.

Residential developers are building new homes to the south; a multi-phase project consisting of seniors apartments, a retirement residence, and a long-term care facility will be built over the next couple of years; a medical centre with seven to 10 new doctors is coming; and there may be more commercial development along the Regional Road 20 corridor to the north.

“The community said they wanted this project to be as integrated as possible,” said Augustyn, adding seniors from the new residence can easily get involved with activities at the centre and be a part of the community.

He said the community centre is going to be here for the next few generations, at least 75 years.

“I think people will be very proud of what we have done. Our old facility was who we were growing up in the ’70s and ’80s, there was a disconnect between it and the community. We worked to match this facility to what the community is feeling about itself and the aspirations we have.”

See original article here.

Originally posted in the Welland Tribune – Nathaniel Johnson on September 17, 2018