The provincial government says it will now be moving ahead with donating LRT land to build a community centre in the Jane and Finch neighbourhood after the initial plan to donate the land in the summer was cancelled.

The Ford government said Thursday it will be providing 2.174-acres of land to the City of Toronto to build a community hub and centre for the arts for the Jane and Finch community.

The land is located just north of Finch Avenue West, between Norfinch Drive and York Gate Boulevard, adjacent to the future Finch West LRT Maintenance and Storage Facility.

According to the province, the land is being "transferred" to the City of Toronto at no cost.

Screen shot 2021 03 11 at 3Site plan via Community Hub & Centre for the Arts Feasibility Study courtesy of Councillor Anthony Perruzza

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“As we continue to build much-needed transit along Finch West Avenue, we recognize the importance of recreation, arts, education and community-building to the Jane and Finch community,” said Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney in a statement.

“That’s why we are providing the land at no cost to the city so area residents can have a vibrant community hub and arts centre that will offer a variety of services and programs.”

While this is an exciting announcement for the Jane-Finch community today, it comes after months of backlash after Metrolinx reversed course and cancelled its initial plans to donate the land this past summer.

According to The Star, a Metrolinx official wrote to the local councillor, Anthony Perruzza, and informed him that while the idea of donating the land was “well-intentioned,” it “had not been properly internally vetted or approved as a reasonable option.”

The Star reported that the official said Metrolinx planned to put the land up for sale once the LRT was completed, which is scheduled for 2023. 

"Today is an example of the strength of the residents of Jane-Finch. We need to acknowledge the tremendous effort and work of the Jane-Finch community, a diverse and vibrant neighbourhood, towards securing this land,"said the Jane-Finch Community Hub Organizing Committee in a statement.

"We look forward to continuing our stewardship of this process with the Province, City of Toronto, and Metrolinx, and securing the necessary sustainable funding to build and operate the hub that our community has envisioned over many years."

According to the province, the land contribution will allow the City to continue design-related work and establish partnerships to construct the aforementioned 65,000-sq.ft centre that is expected to generate significant benefits to the community.

The province said it's also exploring how the future community centre could align with the Black Youth Action Plan as part of the land transfer agreement. If supported, this community space could also offer economic empowerment programming, among other services, to support local youth in achieving social and economic success.

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