News / Calgary

Social enterprise on the menu at Calgary’s Sunalta community hall

Neighbourhood leaders in Sunalta are cooking up plans to construct a community kitchen and coffee shop in their aging community centre.

Community association president Nick Twyman pictures the centre as a place where Beltline residents can whip up meals, take cooking lessons and even find after-school jobs.

Twyman says the kitchen concept is part of a big-time facelift, and it would operate on a non-profit basis with the profits funnelling back into the community.

“Ultimately, it’s a great centrifugal force in the neighbourhood to bring people down,” he said Tuesday.

Unlike other inner-city neighbourhoods like Ramsay where the community centre is underused, the Sunalta hall is said to be in high demand. However, Twyman outlined a divide between more transient apartment dwelled and more established families living in the single-family homes.

“We’re trying to bring the neighbourhood all together into common area,” he said Wednesday. “It’s the whole community hub concept.”

The changes would complement the existing dance hall space, according to Twyman.

A third-party consulting firm is still hashing out site plans, with the total tab projected to be upwards of $6 million.

Other work is planned for the community garden, soccer field and new playground over the next four years.

Leslie Evans, executive Director at Federation of Calgary Communities labeled Sunalta’s seven-decade-old building “way past its lifecycle,” adding it’s not the only community eyeing stronger community ties.

“Each community is going about things in a different way, which is part of the uniqueness of the community association movement,” said Evans, whose organization oversees roughly 150 communities.

Area. Coun. Druh Farrell has backed a push toward building more flexible community spaces, adding the municipal and provincial authorities are looking at easing some regulations.

“Communities are struggling for funding but the uses that are allowed in the buildings are also very limiting,” Farrell said this week.

Sunalta has a permit to add a kiosk in a spot that once used as a rink shack for skates, Twyman noted.

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