West Island Jewish Community Centre closing its doors
Management says clientele has declined over past 30 years
A West Island community centre that has been welcoming people young and old for 30 years will be closing down at the end of October.
The West Island Jewish Community Centre is a place where people of all ages come to get a little exercise and connect with friends and neighbours.
"It's not a fitness centre, it's a community. Sometimes I say we should call it Cheers, because everyone knows your name,” said Andrea Brummer, a Coordinator with the WIJCC Fitness and Recreation Services.
Brummer says things have changed on the West Island since the centre opened, making it difficult to stay in operation.
"There's a slight decline of the Jewish population, and there is an increase in competition for what we do," said Ethel Smith, Interim Executive Director at the YM-YWHA.
Smith says enrolment has declined, and other facilities — like the Dollard Civic Centre — have drawn away some of its clientele.
Sometimes I say we should call it Cheers, because everyone knows your name.- Andrea Brummer, WIJCC Coordinator
"When you have a city-run institution, it's funded by alternative means, and allows for cheaper prices," said Smith.
The government-subsidized day care will remain open, and the centre is talking to a nearby synagogue about taking on some of its Jewish education programs for toddlers and youth.
However, the adults and seniors who use the gym will have to find a new place to work out, unless something can be done.
"They're gonna write letters, they're going to do something about it, they're going to try and rally the community," said Brummer. “It's more than just a gym. It's a family place, it's safe, it's comforting, and they want to do something to save it."
While only a handful of full-time employees will lose their jobs, a number of part-time and summer employees will also be looking for work.
The centre closes October 31st.