Corp Comm Connects

New operations centre highlights things to come in East Gwillimbury in 2021

Other projects include Centre Street revitalization and Yonge Street pedestrian crossover
Jan. 7, 2021
Simon Martin

As the calendar turns to 2021 in East Gwillimbury, there are a number of things on the ledger to get done in town this year. Even as COVID-19 lingers, omnipresent, as the top priority, there are many new initiatives the town is moving forward with. The biggest ticket item is the town’s new operations centre on Woodbine Avenue, which is slated to open in the spring.

“It’s on budget and on time,” Mayor Virginia Hackson said.

The town’s current works yard on Mount Albert Road will be moved to the new $16.7-million, 58,000-square-foot operations centre situated on the 20-acre site on Woodbine. The facility will support the town’s operational and front-line service departments and will include a salt dome, greenhouse and covered roads storage, and will also be the home of the town’s new emergency operations centre. Construction began on the project in 2019.

One of the benefits of the project is that it will open up land behind the East Gwillimbury Sports Complex for the town to plan better recreational use for residents. Hackson said she anticipates discussions on what to do with old operations centre land to come forward in 2021.

Ward 1 Coun. Terry Foster echoed Hackson’s excitement about the new operations centre and what it means for the town. “It’s a large and exciting project that has been years in the making,” he said.

As for Holland Landing, Foster said a significant change coming this year is a pedestrian crossover on Yonge Street near the Holland Landing Community Centre. “This is a regional project that fits in nicely with some coming improvements to Yonge Street through the village,” he said.

Fellow Ward 1 Coun. Loralea Carruthers said a top priority for her is the revitalization of downtown Holland Landing. “I’m looking forward to stakeholder meetings scheduled for the new year to start to put together a comprehensive plan to revitalize this important area and make it someplace we can all be proud of,” she said.

One of the biggest projects the town will tackle in the new year is the design of the new Health and Active Living Plaza (HALP). The HALP, which will be located in the new Queensville development, is currently in the design and site plan stage, with prequalification of general contractors in 2021, project tender in 2021/2022 and facility construction occurring from 2022 to 2024. It is anticipated that the HALP will open once the town’s population has reached 40,000 residents, which will be in approximately 2024. The facility will include an aquatics centre, library, gym, splash pad, sports fields and sports courts.

“This is one of the most anticipated projects in the history of our town,” Hackson said.

Local businesses took a huge hit in 2020 due to the pandemic, said Ward 3 Coun. Scott Crone. He said it’s important for the town to do what it can to not lose any more of their small business folks. “They support community events,” he said.

Mount Albert downtown is due for a facelift, and Ward 3 Coun. Cathy Morton is excited about the Centre Street revitalization project that is getting started in 2021. The provincial government gave $2.3 million for improvements to Centre Street in Mount Albert. This project will take from 2021 to 2025. The town will be issuing a tender for design works in early 2021.

“It needs to be updated. There needs to be a lot of work,” Morton said. “When I was growing up, I liked going to Centre Street because we had a lot more business.”