It was a full house at the Lloyd Watson Centre last night for the public meeting about the proposed Wilberforce Food Centre. John Teljeur has been the front man in applying for the grant to make the centre possible and he gave the full overview of the project including what it will mean for the community and what they aim to do.

Community members there agreed the center is needed but raised concerns about cost and space. Councilor Joan Barton eased concerns about use of the community centre. She said the food centre would not run seven days a week, and would operate out of their own space primarily. Times when they would use the community hall would be time booked through the municipality and they would not get precedence over other organizations or events.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation grant will allow the construction of an addition onto the Lloyd Watson Centre to allow for food storage, a community kitchen, and meal programs, said Teljeur. Reeve Dave Burton said based on preliminary drawings, the new space would mean the loss of about seven parking spaces. Teljeur said the addition would also include new public washrooms that would be open 24/7.

Another main concern among residents was the accessible doors to the community hall, which both Burton and Teljeur assured, would absolutely stay where they are, and the addition would not take away from it.

Teljeur said they’re looking to the public for input on the project. He said they’re turning to the community to give suggestions, volunteer, and help develop the space so it can operate at maximum potential.

The application to the Ontario Trillium Foundation has been submitted, but not yet approved. Teljeur says a site visit is taking place next week which is just the next step in the process. He’s hoping they’ll hear whether or not they’re approved by the end of October. Burton confirmed council has supported the project, but will not give the final approval until the grant comes through. While the grant would cover costs of the addition, Burton said they don’t know the full scope so it could mean a cost to the municipality, which they will bring forward if it happens.

After questions about space were raised, Burton committed to posting the preliminary drawings of the addition so members of the public will be able to see how the space will be laid out and can once again offer their feedback.