YMCA business plan calls for $1.4 million in upgrades to maintain services

Christopher Gooding
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AMHERST - It will take $1.4 million in upgrades if the YMCA wants to be sustainable without reducing services.

In its 2009 business proposal, the upgrades could half the current operational costs of the Y, and the bulk of retrofits would be aimed at the pool, which is responsible for 61 per cent of the electricity bill and 45 per cent of the annual heating expenses.

"For us the hitch is sustainability," YMCA managing director Trina Clarke said. "The most pressing concern is the roof. You want to keep the inside water in and the outside water out…if some money fell out of the sky that would be the first thing we would look at."

In its 2009 business plan, the YMCA directed Maricor Group to single out utility costs of the pool, finding upgrades to the roof, insulation and flashing, electrical panels, pool tiles as well as converting its hot water and heat to use natural gas were just some of the things the YMCA can do to save $50,000 of the $110,000 it spends annual in operational costs.

A funding proposal from the YMCA was before the Municipality of Cumberland County and the Town of Amherst to shoulder $1.6 million over a five-year period but the county counter-offered the proposal on Tuesday night, announcing it is ready to commit up to $100,000 towards the capital and operational cost at the YMCA annually for the next five years with conditions, including the pool be maintained for one year, at which point the sustainability of the pool will be reviewed. The county also stipulated the YMCA would need to finalize an agreement with the Town of Amherst.

Some applications have already been made to fund for the necessary upgrades, Clarke said, and more are being explored.

"It's our understanding there are areas we can tap into," Clarke said. "We haven't fully vetted those areas."

Suggestions, however, have been coming in and the public has played a significant role, Clarke said.

Cumberland North MLA Ernie Fage says he personally spoke with Pat Dunn, Minister responsible for Health Promotion and Protection, passing on suggestions he has received from constituents to keep all of the services at the YMCA going.

" The YMCA has certainly been one of the stronger symbols of why people want to come here and we would like to find a business model that works for the community," Fage said.

Federally, Bill Casey's office identified the Recreational Infrastructure Canada Program, announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Feb. 6, is awaiting approval from government but could benefit the YMCA. Local hockey rinks, swimming pools and other community sites throughout Canada will be eligible to receive funding for upgrades through the program if the next phase of the federal budget is passed. Application forms for the program are still under development, meaning there's time for YMCA to prepare a pitch.

Organizations: YMCA

Geographic location: AMHERST, Cumberland County, Canada

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Recent comments

  • No More money
    January 18, 2010 - 11:24

    Funny how it went from $300,000 a year for the pool to $1.4 million for upgrades....WOW!!!

  • douggie b
    January 18, 2010 - 11:18

    if people in amherst and our leaders can not make things work to keep the y open maybe mr blueberry like to buy it . keep up the good work ms. clarke you and your staff are doing more then most

  • Janet Dale
    January 18, 2010 - 11:16

    Hmmm, I didn't know I was wealthy!! O-M-Gawd, I've been budgeting forever, buying in bulk all these years, I shamelessly collect and use coupons, didn't own a car for three years and ALL this time I was wealthy???
    Lordy, I had better call Brian at work and tell him to quit! HE doesn't know either... he'll be soooooo excited ;o)

    Thank- you Chuckles, Thank-you from the bottom of coupon lovin' heart :o)
    Now where should I meet you to pick up my windfall?? Your place...better yet, why don't you meet me and my sale priced sneakers in the cardio room and if I last longer you take over my payments?? Great idea or what??? See ya there Chuck!

  • Y Supervision
    January 18, 2010 - 11:13

    I am a Y supporter BUT I had to respond to You make me laugh . My children DID attend the Y everyday. Swimming, youth & teen (50 kids to 2or3 teenage suprevisors) and any other age appropriate programs BUT as for well supervised Im not sure I agree. I cant even tell you how many times my kids came home intears because they were being bullied by other children. They reported it as did I to the management BUT nothing ever happened. My children have choosen not to go to the Y anymore because of being bullied, pushed, being called names and teased.

  • Chuckles
    January 18, 2010 - 11:08

    I agree , it is a farce I think too !!! It's only a place for wealthy families and members to go. Why would you want ot swim at the Y when you can go someplace quiet like the Super 8 or the Wandlyn Inn. My wife took the kids the other weekend ,,only because the super 8 had a birthday party planeed ,and she was not even swimming and THEY TOLD HER SHE STILL HAD TO PAY $8.00 JUST TO HOLD OUR BABY IN A FOOT OF WATER !!!! She was not even swimming she was just taking the baby in which she had to pay 4 dollars for and the super 8 charges 0 dollars for .. The y use to be a good place to go when I was younger but it's a money pot now ,,just my own opinion but we will not go back !!!

  • close it
    January 18, 2010 - 11:08

    1.4 for the y? never - mr. hunter was show boating as usual - user pays or close it , I will not pay a red copper toward it -

  • Jack on the rocks
    January 18, 2010 - 11:04

    Hey Wasted Money,how do you figure $100,000 was conned???The Y or Money Pit just keeps on asking and adding.When will it end?

  • you make
    January 18, 2010 - 11:04

    you guys make me laugh. the y is not for rich people. where did you get tthat idea? i go there and im retired . why dont you people get a grip on it.invest in your kids health instead of having them fat as hell and just as lazy. its not the schools responsibilty but yours. so do the right thing and support the place where you know your kids are and that they have proper supervision instead of constantly bitchin about the place. as far as the money dont worry my friends the government wastes or gives away much much more than the y could possibly ever use. invest in your kids future---you wont be sorry

  • YMCA Supporter
    January 18, 2010 - 10:50

    why don't you guys read the business plan first, the money is not all at once, it's a long term plan. Go to their website (www.ymcaofcumberland.com) and click on the link at the bottom left of the page (under Now Online). then you will know what the hell you are talking about. The 300,000 is for maintaining pool services while they work on capital campaigns and repair the building that has been neglected over the years due to lack of financial support from this community.

  • Troy
    January 18, 2010 - 10:43

    omg,,what a joke,,a million opinions and not a thing being done,,close the place,,get over it people,,go swim at the wandlyn or head to the beach in the summer.

  • Wealthy Industrialist
    January 18, 2010 - 10:37

    Chuckles is so right. Only us *Have Lots* types are making use of the YMCA. We jet into Fox Harbour on private jets and tale limos into Amherst because we want to swim at the Y. Yet we are so blinded by our riches that we refuse to support it by donating money for its upkeep. Why, just last week, I booked every room in the Super 8 just so I could have some peace and quiet and no birthday parties going on while I read the paper on my bed and ate caviar and drank mint juleps.

  • askhim
    January 18, 2010 - 10:36

    These people are greedy and the money can be spent on far better things.