Potential Brant Community Hub

In May 2016, the City of Guelph purchased two acres of land from the Upper Grand District School Board, located between Brant Avenue Public School and Brant Avenue Park. The City, in partnership with a number of community partners, supports the development of a community hub (building and parking lot) within the park and the green space acquired from the school board will become park space. Preliminary estimates indicate a potential Brant Community Hub could be up to 10,000 to 11,000 square feet in size with 30,000 square feet required for parking.

Have your say

The City of Guelph and Kindle Communities Inc., hosted two open houses on May 28 and 31 to hear from residents about a potential community hub within Brant Avenue Park. Feedback received will be considered as part of Kindle Communities Inc.’s potential development application.

The following document is a summary of the feedback, questions, and responses received from the initial consultations that took place in May and June 2016.

Brant Community Hub consultations — May to June 2016

For more information

Alex Goss
Manager of Community Investment
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2675
[email protected].

Frequently asked questions

What is a community hub?

Community hubs provide a central access point for a range of needed health and social services, along with cultural, recreational, and green spaces to nourish community life. Community hubs are gathering places that help communities live, build, and grow together. No community hub is like another, as each brings together a variety of different services, programs and/or social and cultural activities to reflect local community needs. It is this diversity of activity that allows community hubs to play a critical role in building economic and social cohesion in the community. Typically, community hubs are located in neighbourhood settings.

Why does the Brant Avenue neighbourhood need a community hub?

In its 2013 report, Addressing Social Determinants of Health in the City of Guelph, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health identified the Brant Avenue neighbourhood as an area of Guelph that lacks employment opportunities, access to food/grocery stores, and agency services and programs that improve community well-being.

A community hub in the Brant Avenue neighbourhood could make it easier for area residents to access programs and services without having to leave their neighbourhood.

How would a community hub benefit the neighbourhood?

A hub is a place of collective wisdom as it brings all residents together through activities, programs, and services that the community wants. A community hub in the Brant neighbourhood would be a significant investment by non-profit partners directly into the neighbourhood for the purpose of building a stronger and healthier community.

 Why was Brant Avenue Park selected as the preferred site?

Brant Avenue Park was selected as the preferred community hub site because of its central location in the neighbourhood and proximity to the Brant Avenue Public School. The Province of Ontario has highlighted the importance of locating community hubs near schools to build on existing community spaces.

Who would develop the Brant Community Hub?

Kindle Communities Inc., a not for profit and socially responsible landlord, is interested in working with the City and multiple community partners to develop and operate the hub building in Brant Avenue Park. The development may be similar to the multi-service community hub model of the Shelldale Community Centre in Guelph, which is also operated by Kindle. All costs associated with the development of a community hub would be managed by Kindle Communities Inc.

What is the City’s role?

The City owns the land and has a vested interest in ensuring that if a hub is built there it will meet the community’s needs. Should a community hub be built, the City would potentially lease the land to the developer.

What services would be available?

Each hub is as unique as the community it serves and is defined by local needs, services and resources. Kindle Communities Inc. would work with the community and non-profit organizations to determine which services and programs would be offered at a community hub in the Brant neighbourhood.

Who would have access to programs and services?

A community hub in the Brant neighbourhood would be accessible to everyone. However, some programs and services may have specific eligibility requirements in order to gain access.

Is this a done deal? How can I voice my opinion about a hub in the Brant neighbourhood?

No, a community hub in the Brant neighbourhood is not a done deal. The City and Kindle Communities Inc. are in the initial stages and are seeking input on the potential community hub and park changes. The City and Kindle Communities Inc. are committed to seeking opportunities to work together with local residents to address any concerns in the community. Through the end of 2016, there will be additional engagement opportunities prior to Kindle’s potential development application being submitted to the City’s planning department. Feedback received will be reviewed and considered by Kindle as part of their application, which would include a zoning change request and site plan.

Do community hubs impact neighbourhood safety?

Community hubs create a sense of pride and ownership in the neighbourhood.  The Province of Ontario has shown that community hubs can reduce crime in neighbourhoods by building community capacity, supporting children, youth, and seniors, and responding to local needs and opportunities.

Do community hubs impact property values?

Community hubs bring significant services and investment directly into the neighbourhood. Community hubs can potentially increase property values by providing additional access to amenities, shared spaces, and community activities in the neighbourhood.

I use Brant Avenue Park. What will happen to the parkland?

Map of Brant Avenue Park showing the location of the existing park space and new park space.

The existing 2.74 acres of parkland will remain a part of the site. In fact, the City purchased an additional two acres of land, for a total of 4.74 acres, to provide space for a new planned hub and ensure there is green space for the neighbourhood. To accommodate a community hub there may be changes to the park. Pending Council budget approval, and should a community hub (building and parking lot) be built, the City would initiate a park master plan. Community members would be invited, at a future date, to help the City create a unified vision for Brant Avenue Park—a vision that connects the outdoor space with the indoor community hub. If a hub is not built, the existing parkland will increase by two acres.

What are the next steps for a potential development of a community hub?

Given that a community hub in the Brant neighbourhood is in the early stages, there are a number of considerations that could affect timelines for this initiative. Below are the steps that would be taken over next two to three years.

  • Gathering input and early engagement with local residents
  • Potential broader community engagement
  • Development application process begins
  • Development application process complete
  • Signing of land lease agreement with the City of Guelph
  • Construction of community hub begins
  • Construction complete