The Henderson Recreation Centre is one step closer to expansion thanks to $373,718 in support from the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.
The grant, announced by Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Ida Chong Wednesday at the rec centre, is part of a $30-million provincewide initiative to fund smaller-scale recreation infrastructure in communities outside the Lower Mainland. It will fund a proposed 800 square foot expansion of the centre on Cedar Hill X Road, including increased fitness studio space and a dedicated stretching area.
“The only thing that saved me is this facility,” said John Newman, an 80-year-old Oak Bay resident who regularly visits the centre for Take Heart Cardiac Rehabilitation, a fitness program designed for those who have had, or are at risk of having, a cardiac event.
A devout participant in Take Heart since undergoing heart surgery a year-and-a-half ago, Newman praised the centre’s ability to serve all ages in the community.
“(Henderson) isn’t just for little kids or people who can walk around,” he said. “It’s for people like us who have to drag ourselves here.”
Mayor Nils Jensen echoed the sentiment.
“It will make a difference to those that are young and not so young,” Jensen said. “These funds will help us move forward and become more active.”
The total price tag for the project is estimated at $469,300, with the remaining funds to come via the municipality’s capital reserve.
Eight of the 98 projects green lit (from 219 applications in B.C.), fall within the Capital Regional District and total $2.4 million. Esquimalt received $400,000 toward recreation centre upgrades, Saanich was given $337,500 for improvements to Gyro Park and the City of Victoria is in line for $192,000 earmarked for outdoor fitness equipment pods. Recreation projects in Central Saanich, Highlands, Sooke and Langford were also approved.
“It’s important that we have an understanding of what you’re doing in your communities, especially in today’s days where we have limited tax base. We have limited dollars,” Chong said. “The importance of funding recreational activities is still very important.”