A Brand New Community Hub Has Been Proposed for Mississauga
Do you think Mississauga is in need of more recreational spaces?
If so, you’re not alone.
Mississauga Ward 5 Councillor Carolyn Parrish is pushing for a community hub, and she wants to place it in one of Peel Region’s poorest areas.
During the April 5 Regional Council meeting, Parrish asked her colleagues to approve a study to provide funding for a community services hub in the Malton neighbourhood of Mississauga, which is in her ward’s northeast corner near Pearson International Airport.
Specifically, she wanted to convert the pool enclosure at Lincoln Alexander Secondary School into a Youth Hub Facility with a drop-in centre main floor and a 40 per cent mezzanine to house social and health service agencies, specifically focused on youth.
“I’m tired of reports; I’ve got a community out there that’s really in trouble,” Parrish said during her speech in council.
The 12,000 sq. ft. pool area is currently dormant and not in use, so it’s surplus infrastructure, says Parrish, which can be converted with the heating and lighting already built-in. It would not cost the Region extra money in rental fees because the City of Mississauga is donating the building, which it owns.
Pool photo courtesy of Carolyn Parrish
Funding will come from the United Way of Peel Region, at $579,235 per year, which was already allocated to run various youth programs in the nearby Community Centre and other locations and would be amalgamated into the hub, Parrish said.
Her motion also asks Peel Region to provide two thirds of capital funds in the 2019 Budget; the City of Mississauga would be asked to provide the remaining third in the same budget.
In recent years, Malton has seen some improvements in infrastructure and economic growth. Redevelopment at Westwood Square has resulted in some new businesses opening, there are a number of new parks being planned or already opened, and the Malton Business Improvement Area (BIA) just opened their new offices in Victory Hall.
But Parrish said things like park reopenings and refurbishing the CF 100 aircraft monument were only window dressing. “My guys are living in the middle of that hellhole with the air pollution and trucks, but 72 per cent of them love the place,” Parrish said about her constituents.
If any community could use a new recreational hub, Malton is it.
While it’s home to Canada’s biggest and most bustling airport, the area is also home to lower-income neighbourhoods and lacks in some supportive services.
While business may be improving, social services for Malton residents has not, according to statistics from the United Way of Peel, as outlined in this report. Some statistics of note:
Malton residents earn an income below the GTA average of $46,666; an average individual income is $24,142, which is $17,266 for newcomers.
10.5 per cent of Malton residents are unemployed, 25 per cent of which are youth, 24.3 per cent are single parent families and 82.5 per cent are visible minorities.
28 per cent of Malton’s youth are not involved in any after school activities because of costs and transportation needs
Only 482 of 9,900 participate in Mississauga subsidized programs and 1,708 of them are registered full time.
64 per cent of children in Malton require preventative dental care, when the Region’s overall average is only 36 per cent.
Councillor Parrish also pointed out that Malton contributes a quarter of taxes to the Region and to the city while remaining the poorest in Peel. The area sends $137,572,356 in tax to the Region of Peel and $134,376,557 to Mississauga.
“If we have to put money into Malton, I’m not going to hesitate to ask for it”, she said, saying with all the money that Malton sends to regional and city government, the least they could do is to give a couple of million bucks back.
After some concerns raised about funding and inquiries as to what exactly is being proposed, Regional Council voted in favour of the study.
If you take a look at the map, you can see that Lincoln Alexander SS is right across the street from the Malton Community Centre and Library and just around the corner from Westwood Square and the bus terminal. The added bonus is that the proposed hub site is at least somewhat geographically in the centre of Malton.
The issue of proper funding for community and health services could be an important issue that comes up during the provincial election which is due to start in a few weeks.
Do you think having a community hub in Malton is a good idea?
Picture courtesy of @gualdjouma