Ontario New Democratic Party leader Marit Stiles met with proponents of a creative, cultural and community hub at the old Niagara-on-the-Lake Hospital, which they believe would be the perfect gateway location for the project.
The hospital closed in 2015, and doctors and medical professionals who kept offices downstairs recently moved to a new facility, leaving just three tenants in the building. A group comprising Royal Oak Community School, Shaw Festival, Music Niagara Festival, Plenty Canada, Yellow Door Theatre Project, and a new nursery school hope to make use of the space. They envision a cultural hub where nonprofits can come together and collaborate, creating new ideas to benefit the community.
The group is seeking support from the town council to retain the facility for community use, and while $2 million has already been raised for necessary upgrades, they will need further financial support from grants and government to make the project a reality.
The Ontario NDP leader, Marit Styles, visited Niagara-on-the-Lake to listen to the proponents of a new community hub, which is proposed to be located in the old hospital building. The location is ideal because it is in the heart of the Old Town community, and along the Niagara River Parkway, a scenic drive that leads to Niagara Falls, where it would capture people coming into town. The building is also near arts and cultural events, such as the Music Niagara Festival and the Shaw Festival. The proposed hub would provide office, rehearsal, and performance spaces, making it a great spot for collaboration among nonprofit organizations.
The previous council dropped the request for expressions of interest, but it is not clear why. There have been several building closures in the area, such as Parliament Oak School, Niagara District Secondary School, and three other elementary schools. In some cases, the town takes over these buildings, but they end up getting sold to developers. The proponents of the community hub are hoping this does not happen with the old hospital building.
The Royal Oak Community School, a not-for-profit, came about after Parliament Oak closed. The community hub would provide great opportunities for collaboration among non-profit organizations that would be housed under one roof, including the Royal Oak Community School.