submitted by the WEJCC Association
(Edmonton) – Rosh Hashanah ushers in a season of hope and a collective dream to build our new WEJCC. Theodore Herzl said, “If you will it, it is no dream!”
It has been 7 years since the community decided to close the 36,000 square foot JCC on 156th street. Four years ago, Jewish land was sold to a private developer and the accumulated $5 million of money has been held in a Federation bank account. All of it is pledged to build a JCC.
We praise the Beth Israel for its valiant effort to be the catalyst to move a slow process into an active building phase. They offered a plan which was rejected at three Town hall meetings, in favour of the Talmud Torah site. The people who attended these meetings were shown two 5000 square foot 2 storey options. Chris Lavin, the facilitator of the meeting, advised Federation that the majority picked the 5000 square foot option (A) in the middle of the field, over the 5000 square foot option (B) attached to the Talmud Torah.
We honestly do not feel this small unit will answer the needs of our community. In fact, WEJCC’s plan for a 22,000 square foot, one story facility presented in the Edmonton Jewish News and the Edmonton Pipeline, meets our community’s needs. The architectural plan that was presented included a self-funding, functional and modern facility, including on-site parking and ample office space for a construction cost of $5.3 million.
We, who are actively prepared to lead in construction, hope that the $5,000,000 of community money earmarked for this project will be forthcoming. As such, the Federation is urged to not let this smoulder. It is of utmost importance to keep moving forward with plans for a free standing 22,000 square foot centre, to ensure that maximum facility use will be achieved.
The WEJCC Association endorses the concept of a fully functioning and self-funding JCC to meet the community’s needs for our present and future generations to enjoy. This plan is modelled on successful JCCs that we see in Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver.
Our dream is to unite our community, to provide a proper and well conceived building that all of us can utilize and be proud of.