Crescent Town Club reopening delayed

Five months after a major electrical fire, most of the Crescent Town Club and Community Centre remains closed.

Managers had hoped the centre would reopen by the end of December, but unexpected delays have pushed that date into spring.

A day care on the centre’s top floor did reopen in early October.

But in the main building, only the reception area is restored – the few staff left at the desk are handling refunds for things like cancelled swimming lessons.

“It’s taken far longer than anyone expected,” said Ward 31 city councillor Janet Davis, who serves on the board of the non-profit centre.

An explosion and fire broke out in the building’s electrical room around midday on July 9. Everyone was evacuated safely. Five of the six high-rise apartments in Crescent Town lost power.

The exact cause of the fire remains a mystery, said Davis, which is complicating some insurance claims.

All of the damage occurred on property owned by Pinedale Properties, she said, and not Toronto Hydro equipment.

“We’ve been really pushing hard at the board to have our main property owner and landlord, Pinedale, to explain what the situation is,” she said. Calls to Pinedale Properties were not returned by press time.

Built by developers in 1971 as a community benefit negotiated by the former municipality of East York, the Crescent Town Club building is maintained by Pinedale (formerly Belmont) and the YCC 76 condominium corporation.

Many of the 10,000 people who live in Crescent Town are newly arrived immigrants with low incomes. Club memberships are free for local residents. Paid memberships are also available, and several groups rent space as well.

“There’s a lot of community activity that’s been displaced, unfortunately,” said Davis, noting that the CREST Swim Club, one of the most popular, is now dividing its practice time at several city pools nearby.

Davis said Crescent Town Club is still waiting for a final decision from Ontario’s Electrical Safety Authority on the scope of the repairs.

“It’s raising so many questions for me about hydro infrastructure in our city,” she said.

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