Calgary

Calgary YMCA announces permanent closure of Eau Claire location

YMCA Calgary has announced it's permanently closing its Eau Claire location, the Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA.

Ward 8 Coun. Evan Woolley says the closure is a blow to the entire downtown

The Calgary YMCA cites rising costs, financial pressures and a diminishing membership base as reasons for closing the Eau Claire facility, which is more than 30 years old. (Google Maps)

YMCA Calgary has announced it's permanently closing its Eau Claire location, the Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA.

The organization cites rising costs, financial pressures and a diminishing membership base as reasons for closing the facility, which is more than 30 years old.

Patricia White, chair of the YMCA Calgary board of directors, says they are making every effort to minimize the effects on the staff and the communities who enjoy the facility.

The City of Calgary has a partnership with a few of the YMCAs and owns facilities at Rocky Ridge, Seton, Shawnessy, Saddletown, Quarry Park and Crowfoot.

However the city will not be stepping in to buy the one in Eau Claire.

Coun. Evan Woolley, who represents parts of the downtown and the Beltline in Ward 8, says he's disappointed by the decision.     

"I think this is a very bad piece of news for the downtown, especially one that was completely avoidable," he said.

He says that in pre-COVID times, downtown workers helped offset the costs of the aging facility, but that this should have been on the city's radar to fix.

"We're building and spending hundreds of millions of dollars on brand new rec facilities in our far flung suburbs and allowing these downtown and inner city facilities to crumble in front of our eyes, is unbelievable," he said.

As well, Woolley says he frustrated with the lack of city-owned recreation options for people who live in this area.

"Particularly when you think of the tax base that has been paying into the coffers of this city for so many decades that our recreation department wouldn't have planned better around this is so deeply frustrating to myself and all of my constituents."

The YMCA says the child care facility at Eau Claire will remain open until April 30.

With files from Scott Dippel.

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