In 1993 the former St. Sophia Catholic School was to be decommissioned and the community lobbied the Catholic School Board to leave part of the facility on site for use by the community.
A community meeting was held to discuss possible uses for the facility and the Abbottsfield Recreation Centre Society was formed. The Board of Directors for the Society felt that in order to ensure that it would remain a “true” community facility it would be important to make sure that all members of the community would have access to both the facility and any programs offered.
The decision was made not to charge user fees, even though it would have generated much
needed funds to maintain the facility, and have the ARC available to residents and agencies on a donation basis only. This policy has allowed community groups to offer free or low cost programming to residents.
Through the efforts of volunteers, and the support of community agencies and donors, the facility remained available for community use until 2014 when the new ARC was opened.
Various agencies and groups provide programming 7 days a week, usually from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. There have also been many special events such as community carnivals, political forums, municipal meetings, community dinners, dances and other activities held at the ARC. In addition to this residents have been able to use the ARC for private occasions such as birthday parties, weddings and funerals.
The Abbottsfield Recreation Centre Society is a dedicated group of volunteers who recognized the need for a facility that would be available to the community for free/low cost programs.
Since 1993 we have formed partnerships with many community organizations including the Candora Society, Beverly Towne Community Development Society, Together WeCan, WeCan
Cooperative, Boys’ & Girls’ Club, AA & NA and numerous other groups. Through these groups we have been able to provide free programs for all ages. Without the ARC we would not be able to operate these programs as we could not afford the cost of renting another facility and this is true for most of our user groups.
Neighbourhood recreation centres are places where vital and unique programming can be
offered to suit the needs of a specific population and foster a strong sense of community. The ARC Society has a proven ability to create and provide a safe neighbourhood destination for community support, recreation and gatherings. The redeveloped community hub will make it possible for residents to continue enjoying the variety of accessible programs in a safe, vibrant and inclusive environment.