REGINA – After roughly five years, the Eastview Community Centre is back in the community’s hand – and they celebrated with a carnival.
“Today is a rebirth,” said Queen City Eastview Community Association chairperson Bill Gray.
The phoenix tale started half a year ago when funding and organizational problems led to the centre being shut down. Another group took over and kept it open, but last September it changed hands to the Queen City Eastview Community Association.
“Now we’ve finally got it back and we’re ready to cut the cake, cut the ribbon,” said Gray, who, along with neighbours, worked for years to reclaim the centre.
The centre has been open for months, but today is considered its official relaunch. There were activities including face painting, balloon sculpting, and horse-drawn wagon rides.
“When I had received my flyer in the mail, I said, ‘You know, this would probably be a good thing to go and do and spend with my boy,” said Michele Peters, who’s lived in the area for 14 years.
The centre is especially valuable to residents after a church and school in the area closed in recent years, the latter of which Peters calls “a big loss.”
Ward 6 Councillor Wade Murray says the removal of the two community hubs has further isolated Eastview, a neighbourhood completely surrounded by industrial land.
“They’re so disconnected from the rest of the community because there is no interconnection. It’s critical for them to have a place like this,” said Murray.
The community association is hopeful the problems in the past will stay in the past.
“I guess the appreciation of people not losing hope in the centre and seeing them come out to this it’s just mind-boggling,” said Gray.
The day includes lunch and snacks, partially provided by visitors.
“I made them this morning, they were warm when I brought them over,” said proud amateur cinnamon bon baker Bernice Turner.
The 75-year-old has lived in a neighbouring seniors complex for seven years. She enjoys the centre for social gatherings, and more.
“And there’s the community garden, which I thought I had died and gone to heaven because there’s a garden back there,” said Turner. “I intend to live my days out here.”