July 13, 2022

YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka announces ongoing exploration process for site of new Barrie YMCA

YMCA of Simcoe Muskoka

The YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka announced today that it will be continuing its search for the ideal site for a new state of the art community hub, beyond the downtown H-block site. The YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka is focused on finding a site that will maximize the benefits and the impact of the YMCA and facility partners, Youth Haven and Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre.

The YMCA is fully invested in bringing this important community destination to life, says CEO Jill Tettmann, who cited both fiscal considerations and a commitment to the project vision for the continued site exploration.

“We have an exciting vision for this project as a vibrant community hub that will allow even more community members the opportunity to feel safe, be included, and reach their full potential. To ensure these important programs and services can serve individuals and families for generations to come, we must build in the most fiscally responsible and sustainable way possible,” said Tettmann. “Unfortunately, it has become clear that the H-block location would compromise some of that vision, and we are not willing to sacrifice anything in our mission to serve Barrie and surrounding communities.”

Tettmann shared that a number of unforeseen circumstances have converged to make the site infeasible, including a much higher cost of construction, totalling in excess of $80 million, which is nearly double the original, pre-pandemic estimate of approximately $45 million. She noted that some of the cost increases are as a result of the underground parking, which is necessary because of the size of the site, and that these costs were made even more significant by the cost of materials and labour due to pandemic-related pressures.

“We know that many organizations, in many industries, are experiencing these same challenges and unfortunately, our YMCA capital projects are not immune to this reality,” said Tettmann.

The YMCA is incredibly thankful for the partnership of the City of Barrie on this project. Sharing the possibility of the H-block location was an important show of support for this important project. The YMCA has confirmed with the City of Barrie its intention to continue exploring sites beyond H-block, and says it will begin assessing the inventory of available and potentially appropriate sites immediately this summer.

“Now is the time to be strategic, thoughtful and intentional in our next steps,” confirmed Board Chair Lynne Strachan, who also noted that member, donor and partner needs were front of mind for the YMCA. "Our utmost priority is to steward the needs and wishes of our members, donors, funders and partners. Our community of generous supporters is what allows the YMCA to bring exciting capital projects like this to life. We are so grateful and will continue to honour their trust in all of our decisions and actions around this project.”

Despite the continuing process, the YMCA has set a goal to be in a position to break ground on the new facility no later than fall 2024.

The YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka is a charity commited to building a healthy community for all.

YMCA Mission:A community-building charity that connects people to each other and to experiences designed to build health and strength, skills and confidence, and opportunities for exploration and growth.
YMCA Vision:Vibrant and connected communities where everyone belongs.
YMCA Values:Kindness, Integrity, Inclusiveness, Respect, Optimism

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