Justification for Expansion of Space for Hunt Club/Riverside Community Services Centre

Prepared by S. Phurn Ball

The Hunt Club/Riverside Community Services Centre (HC/R CSC) is a not-for-profit organization incorporated in 2001. It opened its doors to the community in 2002 and has provided a variety of effective programmes and services since that time. The Centre obtained charitable status in 2004.


The Centre has long since outgrown its 648.1 sq.ft. of operating space; consequently, its ability to effectively serve the Hunt Club and Riverside Park Communities is being severely hampered. The current limited office space has proven to be a barrier to the provision of services to clients, as well as to the recruiting and sustenance of increased human resources. It is often the case that for some programmes (e.g. First Words Assessment) to be operated within the Centre, staff must vacate their offices. The centrally located site of the Centre within the catchment area is a positive aspect; however, this is overshadowed by the inadequacies of the physical space. The current site does not allow for much freedom of movement within the Centre for people using mobility aids such as scooters or wheelchairs (especially motorized).

As a member of the Ottawa Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres (CH&RCs) we are dedicated to responding to the diversity of needs within our community and in particular to those members who are most vulnerable and in need. Like the CH&RCs we serve groups that often face barriers in accessing services, such as seniors, young families, youth, new Canadians and people living on low incomes. Due to the confined working space and lack of sound proofing, only the counselling office is sound proofed, private conversations are at risk of being overheard. This puts the Centre in a vulnerable position of being unable to ensure client privacy/confidentially.

The Centre is a meeting place for community members to come together to identify and resolve community issues. It provides a broad range of activities and services including but not limited to, social services, health, arts and culture, employment preparation and child care. The Centre also provides limited recreation in conjunction with the HC-R Community Centre (Youth Zone, seniors chair exercises and a summer program for children and youth). During the recreational aspect of the program social issues are/may be identified and dealt with in the appropriate manner.

These activities and services will continue to develop and change over time in response to the needs of the community. The community will identify and build on its strengths as reflected in its motto "Community Serving Community". To continue to provide and to expand to meet the demand for accessible/culturally appropriate counselling, community development, health promotion services and its commitment to creating a community that is accepting to all, the Centre urgently needs to expand its physical space.

An expanded space would provide greater anonymity for those seeking services, especially counselling with the present legislative emphasis on 'privacy' and 'confidentially'. Like many high-density communities where there are a large number of families, HC/R CSC is faced with multiple barriers related to poverty, language and culture. Many of the Centre's clientele are new Canadians - language is often a problem and requests for assistance should not be discussed in an open area.

The Centre needs to establish a stronger visible presence in the Riverside Park Community. Increased space would allow HC/R CSC to expand the range of programmes and services.

In the final analysis the Centre must be able to respond to the ever increasing ethno-cultural diversity and demand for programmes. The HC/R CSC could meet this requirement far more effectively, if it had the physical space and more staff in which tp present and provide the opportunity for the residents to come together.

Present Programmes

Usage Statistics for the January to June 2008 Period. All the following program statistics could increase if more space was available
General Services
Counselling Crisis Intervention and Short-term Counselling, support and referral. Phone support also available. 102 individuals
164 sessions
87 referrals
Emergency Baby Supply Cupboard For parents with young babies who need supplies (diapers, formula, etc.). 27 families
Free Computer Access (Millennium Learning Centre) Volunteers provide one-on-one support in a supportive atmosphere. No stats
Good Food Box Receive fresh fruit and vegetables at a low cost every month. 22 families
Income Tax Preparation Program Specially trained income tax volunteers help residents complete their returns. 96 individuals
Multicultural Advisory Committee Meets monthly to identify and address issues of concern pertaining to community needs. 5 members + 1 staff
Babies & Young Children
Playgroups in partnership with Ontario Early Years Centre Hunt Club Riverside Community Centre Cooperative Playgroups, 0-6 years. 67 parents & children
Early Years Drop-in Playgroup 0-6 years 1,202 parents & children
First Words Drop-in individual meetings. Staff must vacate office space for this program. 25/30 kids
Christie Lake Kids Star Programmes, Pottery Ages 6 and 15 learn and build new skills through working with clay. Junior - 7, Senior - 10
Kids Homework Club. Space utilized is the reception area and boardroom. Children Grades 1 to 8; dedicated to providing homework/literacy support by qualified tutors. Children must be registered before attending. 28, Waiting List
Catch the Spirit - Summer Program for Children , Ages 6-11 building their leadership, team work and social skills. Catch the Spirit is intended for families who demonstrate financial need. 26-30 children
Youth Zone Drop-in program for youth; focus on social skill development.
Ages 9 to 13, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Ages 13 to 18, 8:30 - 10:30 p.m.
Youth Drop-in. Registration required, can only accommodate 9 kids Youth 13 to 18, variety of activities including cooking, computer, etc. 9
Conversational English Group, Partnership with OCISO Opportunity for Community members to practice/improve their English fluency and increase their understanding of Canadian culture. Registration required, no cost to attend 26
Chair Exercise Class Assist seniors to stretch and strengthen their muscles and have fun. Registration required 33
Foot Care Provided by a professional nurse. Appointment required. 34

HC/R CSC Current Space Available and Requirements

Rented space 833 sq.ft. = 648.1 sq.ft. (net occupied) + 184.9 sq.ft (hallways and other common space). Although we do use satellite locations, parents/children prefer a central location that they can easily get to.
OccupantCurrent Space Space Required for a Healthy Working Environment
Reception/Waiting Area107.5 sq.ft.400 sq.ft.
Administrator/Manager37.5 sq.ft.100 sq.ft.
Executive Director85 sq.ft.170 sq.ft. (sound proof)
Shared space:
Community Developer, Youth Co-ordinator
Univ Placement (s) and
Volunteer Co-ordinator
45.5 sq.ft.  
100 sq.ft.
100 sq.ft.
144 sq.ft.
Counsellor (sound proof)72 sq ft200 sq.ft. (sound proof)
Kitchen49.6 sq.ft50 sq.ft.
Bathroom(Handicap)61 sq.ft.100 sq.ft.
Board Room190 sq.ft.500 sq.ft.
Legal Aid, Service Canada, Settlement Counsellors225 sq.ft. (sound proof)
TOTAL:648.1 sq.ft2089 sq.ft. working space
DIFFERENCE 1441 sq.ft.

If reception space is to be shared with the Community Centre, it would be vital that there is a 100 sq.ft. space devoted to the Services Centre for those waiting for counselling or other private interviews. This is due to privacy/confidentiality issues.

Office size 82 sq.ft. - 20 sq.ft (wall to wall storage cabinets) = 72 sq.ft. office space.

The population demographic is changing rapidly and many of the clientele seek assistance or personal information as a family, thus rendering small offices unusable.

Space Need to Operate Existing Programmes Adequately and to Accommodate New Programmes Listed on Following Page

Programmes requiring privacy: Healthy Babies, Mother's Support Group, etc. 200 sq.ft.
Youth Room Homework club, youth drop-in, youth board meetings, youth employment programmes, etc 400 sq.ft.
Programming Room Seniors Chair Exercise, Women's Groups, Tax Clinics, Seniors Foot Care, Conversational English, etc.325 sq.ft.
Community Room Seniors and other Community groups, child care during programmes, Good Food Box, etc.400 sq.ft.
Storage for Programme Supplies200 sq.ft.
Sub Total1525 sq.ft.
Total requirements3614 sq.ft.

Programmes That Could Begin with Expansion at No Cost to City or the Centre

Programmes that various organizations have indicated that they want to deliver or use our facilities to proceed with developing programmes as soon as there is space to accommodate their staff and clientele.


The following organizations have indicated they want to expand their present level of services at HC/R CSC as soon as more space becomes available.
  1. The Hunt Club/Riverside Community Centre gym programme.
  2. Catholic Immigration Centre - Settlement Services Counsellor- Tuesdays.
  3. Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO) - July - Multi-cultural Liaison.
  4. Chinese Community Association of Ottawa - Thursday mornings - Settlement Counsellor.
  5. Service Canada - ever second Friday - Citizen Service Agent.
  6. First Words - Pinecrest-Queensway Health and Community Services - twice a year (next one in October).
  7. Somali Community Association wants 2 days a week - Settlement Counsellor