London

For now, city staff want the community centre on Wavell to be called ... The Community Centre on Wavell

The city's community and protective services committee are set to discuss a staff recommendation to name the new community centre on Wavell Street, but a city councillor and residents are hoping for a better name.

The staff report mentions the potential of a business coming forward as a named sponsor

An artist's rendering of the soon to be built East Community Centre, which will be located in the city's Argyle neighbourhood, in the Wavell Street and Clarke Road area. (City of London)

If nothing else, the name city staff are putting forward for the new community under construction in east London is accurate.

The city's community and protective services committee will tonight discuss a staff recommendation to name the new community centre on Wavell Street ... The Community Centre on Wavell.

The centre will be located in East Lions Park, not far from Dundas Street East and Clarke Road. 

The facility will include two indoor swimming pools, skating pads, a full-size gym, an artisans centre, even a loom for aspiring weavers. 

Ward 2 Coun. Shawn Lewis is excited about all the new amenities, which he says are badly needed in the community.

But the name staff are putting forward? He's not a fan. And it's not just him. Lewis says he's been polling constituents — in person and online — and they're not nuts about the name either.

In Lewis's ad-hock polling of residents online, via email and at a ward meeting last week, the word "bland" came up a lot.

"It did not go over with any sort of enthusiasm," said Lewis. "We really want something that reflects the tradition of the neighbourhood where the community centre is located." 

Other names were suggested including Argyle Community Centre. And while that name nicely ties the community centre to the neighbourhood, staff worried there would be confusion, particularly when it comes to ambulance dispatch, between the community centre and the existing Argyle Arena two blocks away.

"I like the Argyle Community Centre name, but I can see where staff are coming from," said Lewis. 

The East Community Centre will include two indoor pools, one will include lanes for people to do laps, while the other will be for general leisure. (City of London)

Because the community centre will be located in East Lions Park the name Lewis wants to suggest, based on the input he's had from the community, is East Lions Community Centre. 

"I've had over 400 submissions on this," said Lewis. "And by far and away it's probably more than a two to one margin: East Lions Community Centre is the name the community wants to see." 

He'll be bringing a motion to tonight's CPSC meeting to reject the staff recommendation and go with the East Lions Community Centre. 

One wrinkle is the staff report mentions the potential of a business coming forward as a name sponsor for the community centre. Lewis suspects staff may be leaning toward a bland name so that if a name sponsor does come forward, no one will be too upset to see it erased. 

As for when the community centre will be open, Lewis says he's hoping for a soft opening in December, with a more formal opening in the new year.

"It's certainly our intention to have spring Spectrum (parks and recreation) offerings at this site," said Lewis.

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