There may have been a cloudy sky above, but it’s sunny days ahead for Grandview Children’s Centre.
The provincial government has announced that it will be investing a long-awaited $31 million for the construction of a new centre in Ajax, replacing the main hub in the east end of Oshawa. The latter, originally constructed in 1983, was designed to serve approximately 400 children with special needs. Now, it serves more than 6,000 every year, with thousands more on a waiting list.
It has been two years since the Town of Ajax donated the land that will serve as Grandview Children’s Centre’s new hub, and Lorraine Sunstrum-Mann, the centre’s CEO, says she is happy to see that the organization can finally move towards getting shovels in the ground.
“It has been a long time coming, and we are so thrilled that we are finally able to move forward from advocacy and talking about why it’s needed to building,” she says.
Sunstrum-Mann adds that, should the project move to schedule, that the new centre should be open within the next three years.
“In the planning work that we have in terms of the next year, it will likely be getting the ground ready, soil analysis, taking our conceptual drawing into architectural drawings, and that will likely take a year, then probably a two-year construction,” she says.
“We’ve been saying to families that we want to be looking out the windows with them by 2020.”
As for the fate of the current building on Townline Road, Sunstrum-Mann told Oshawa council in September 2016 that the facility will be put on the market once Grandview fully shifts over to the new Ajax building. She added that there still will be a Grandview facility in Oshawa, but that it would be much smaller and likely be partnered with another organization.
While no locations are finalized for the site, Sunstrum-Mann said that a site further south, which would be more accessible by public transit, would be the preferred option.