Closure looms for Kelvin Community Centre

A group of residents in Winnipeg's Elmwood neighbourhood are worried that a community centre in the area could be only a few weeks from closing its doors.

A group of residents in Winnipeg's Elmwood neighbourhood are worried that a community centre in the area could close its doors within weeks.

The Greater Council of Winnipeg Community Centres recently told the Lacrosse Club at the Kelvin Community Centre to remove$30,000-worth ofequipment from the building by Thursday or risk losing access to it.

A group called Concerned Elmwood Neighbours is concerned that the move is a sign that the centre will be padlocked in the near future.

Group president Regan Wolfrom said his grouphad been given the impression that they could use the facility until programming wrapped up in the spring, but nowhe is worried about what lies in store for dozens of other groupsusing the building.

"My worry is that they are going to padlock the doors pretty much either in the middle of the night or the middle of the day, when we're not there," Wolfrom told the CBC.

"Then not only will we have to then have to instantly scramble to run programs maybe out of a garage, but also we might lose access to our own equipment, which we own or have borrowed, that is in the centre right now."

Steve Bemrose, the spokesman forthe Greater Council of Winnipeg Community Centres, said the Lacrosse Club was told to remove its equipmentimmediately only because it does not have programming going on in the centre.

Bemrose said the council is working on a plan to close the community centre, and all other groups will be given ample notice before thefacility closes.

"Notice could be given any day," he said Tuesday."We're just working, making sure everything is organized, that the field house will be prepared to continue on once the main building is closed."

Thecentre couldclose permanently within a couple of weeks, Bemrose said, but its rinks, fields and field housewill remain open.

Winnipeg city council voted to close Kelvin Community Centre in late January, despite protests of angry neighbourhood residents who crowded council chambers and hallways outside in a last-ditch fight to keep the centre open.

A city committeeconcluded earlier this yearthat the 57-year-old centre had been poorly used in the past, and was not worth upgrading. Instead, the committee said, the city will spend $3.9 millionto expand theBronx Community Club a few kilometres away.

In January, Wolfrom said residents will not give uptheir fight to keep the Kelvin centre open. If a padlock goes on the door, residents will take it off, he said. However, he would not elaborate on whatother action residents would take.