Winnipeg councillor balks at YMCA request for $1.75M
One Winnipeg city councillor is balking at the YMCA-YWCA's request for $1.75 million to help with start up costs for three new facilities, before other funding is in place.
The YMCA-YWCA is already looking at three locations for the centres it hopes to build in Winnipeg.
CEO Kent Paterson made a pitch to the city's executive policy committee Thursday for $1.75 million to start the process.
He said the YMCA-YWCA will match funding provided by the city and province.
But Winnipeg city councillor Ross Eadie Friday questioned the funding commitment at this early stage.
"At this moment there is no agreement with the other levels of government to build this thing." he said Friday. "So why are we spending the money in this budget to do this, when there's nothing signed?"
Paterson told EPC there is a need for the family fitness facilities, especially in the northeast, northwest, and the southwest parts of the city where he hopes they are located.
"We've been told consistently there's need for more recreation facilities in the city," he said.
Paterson said one of the locations could be centrally located on Pembina Highway to serve the growing southern half of the city.
"It's a growth area right now, [with] a lot of young families already in that area, and so there's a gap there," he said.
It's an idea that has some local people ready to lace up their sneakers.
Jerry Hooley, who lives in Waverley West, said the area is in need of a fitness centre.
"It might not be a bad idea," he said. "And I think I would end up using that."
Even Winnipeggers who already belong to existing YMCA-YWCAs like the idea of new facilities.
Sandy Poole, who goes to the Y on Fermor Ave, said she'd look forward to new facilities that offer more services, like child care.
"If it's a larger facility and I understand it's going to have a lot of different things that this one doesn't have, I can't see that it wouldn't be a great thing for our city."
Eadie said if the city has $1.75 million to spare, it should be invested in upgrades for existing facilities, like the Sherbrook Pool in his ward, which requires $2.8 million in upgrades and repairs. EPC did allocate $1.7 million Friday to the pool.
Paterson said if the province doesn't come on board to build three new fitness centres, the YMCA-YWCA will look at other options.
He said the cost to build the southwest location alone is $35 million.
The YMCA-YWCA request, as well as the $1.7 million for the Sherbrook Pool, goes before council again next week.