Former Hospital Site Project takes big step forward

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Council endorses site master plan as well as base funding and amenities for community centre

The redevelopment project of the former Oakville-Trafalgar Memorial Hospital lands took a significant step forward at a Special Meeting last night when Town Council endorsed an overall master plan for the lands as well as the some programming and features for the Southeast Oakville Community Centre that is planned for the site.

“It is important for Council that our plan for the hospital lands reflect the needs and wishes of local residents,” said Mayor Burton. “We appreciate the thoughtful insight provided by community members throughout this consultation process, which has helped staff draft a plan that Council can fully support.”

Recently, residents from across Oakville were invited to share their thoughts on three proposed land use concepts for the overall site at a community workshop and through an online discussion forum. All three land use concepts include a community centre, a park and residential development but the arrangement was slightly different in each option.

While the feedback received was extensive both in person and online, there was no clear consensus on one particular option. However, certain themes and a common concept of establishing distinct districts did emerge with a residential district in the north, a civic district with a community centre and park in the middle, and a seniors-oriented housing district in the south.

With that in mind, the Council-endorsed former Oakville-Trafalgar Hospital Site Master Plan includes:

  • A residential area that complements the existing neighbourhood and maintains the character of the community as intended in the official plan.
  • A civic area that consolidates the community centre and parkland along Reynolds Street since it is the busiest street bounding the site, and allows the park space to be open, follow the principles of safe-park design and be highly accessible. The town also wants to explore the creation of a visible civic square in the area around the former high school. With Council’s approval of the master plan, exploration for re-use of the building will be required.
  • A seniors-oriented housing area that gives options for residents to down-size to smaller, more manageable properties or dwelling units without the need to leave the community. The area could range from independent seniors-living to assisted-care. Further discussions with members of the community and stakeholders will be needed to help define these opportunities.

The final master plan was also fully endorsed at last night’s meeting by the resident associations in Ward 3.

“What residents made clear during the consultation process is that the former hospital and high school played a critical role in anchoring and contributing to the neighbouring community’s identity,” added Mayor Rob Burton. “As such, the final master plan reflects the idea of maintaining that legacy for years to come.”

At last night’s meeting, Council also approved the following enhancements for the new Southeast Community Centre on the site expansion of the single gym to a double gym ($470,000); therapeutic warm-water pool ($2,740,000); fitness centre ($2,550,000) and; an indoor walking track ($1,800,000). These features are in addition to the amenities already planned for the community centre: indoor pool (to replace Centennial Pool), multi-purpose rooms and space for intergenerational programming.

A financial overview on the project was also received by Council which estimates the cost for entire project, including demolition, parking garage enhancements and community centre development, to be approximately $54 million.  Town reserves are a primary funding source for this project. The sale of lands not used for a community centre or park is intended to replenish funding used from the reserve.  This strategy is one way to ensure sufficient funding for other large, long term projects across the town in the future.

Moving ahead, the demolition contractors will begin site preparation this summer. The overall demolition and site remediation will take approximately 12 months to complete. The architectural/general contractor team responsible for the community centre will be selected in early July. The process of design will begin shortly afterwards. The development of the new community centre will begin in late 2018 with an opening scheduled for fall 2020.

A number of Planning Act approvals will also be necessary in order for the redevelopment of the site to proceed including official plan and zoning amendments, and draft plan of subdivision/site plan approvals. Amendments to the town’s Official Plan and Zoning By-law will be subject to the statutory planning process and a public meeting is expected in the fall with proposed Official Plan updates by the end of 2017.

The town plans on engaging with the public later this fall on the project including progress on the demolition work and next steps regarding the design of the community centre design and potential uses of the park.