Community centres eye transit money
The shelving of rapid transit frees up almost $50 million in previously promised government money. And Mayor Sam Katz has pledged the bulk of it will go towards improving local recreation facilities.
- FROM SEPT. 29, 2004: Bus boss resigns over rapid-transit delay
While users of community centres are celebrating, city hall observers warn that the government cheques aren't in the bank yet.
Dakota Community Centre is one of the city's richest community clubs, with two fully booked hockey rinks and a fitness centre. But with up to $43 million in federal, provincial and city money available, even manager Chris Sobkowicz has made a wishlist.
"Right here at Dakota, we're bursting at the seams, and we've got 20 acres of land that we certainly need to develop for the community."
University of Manitoba city politics professor Kim Speers says community centre supporters have done a good job letting the public know about their financial woes. But she says there will be a lot of groups fighting over that newly freed up money.
"Some money may be allocated to the community centres," she says, but "they're going to be competing with all the other issues that should be addressed by council as well."
Councillor John Angus agrees. "The facts are, when the rubber tends to hit the road, politicians tend to backpedal if it doesn't suit their particular criteria."
It's now up to city council to figure out where all that transit money will go.