Final Report on YMCA merger with CCC

Last August, it was reported (see links below) that the YMCA would not be merging with the Cobourg Community Centre (CCC) but the detailed report was not released.  At the Committee of the Whole Meeting on January 29, this report and companion agreement will now be provided.  The idea was first discussed in April 2015 and since then there have been many meetings of the Project Coordinating Committee as well as 2 public meetings and a survey (see Links below).  The basic reason to not proceed is that the cost is too high – more like $25 Million versus the $15 Million originally thought.  Of that it was hoped that one third would be covered by grants but that is currently unlikely.

YMCA in Cobourg
YMCA in Cobourg

The consultants quickly found that “a new indoor aquatic centre and associated amenities would deliver a wide range of benefits to the community and is an extremely desirable part of any municipality’s recreation infrastructure”.  But they also discovered that Cobourg could not support two “aquatic centres”.  So either the YMCA pool moves to the CCC or the current YMCA pool should be renovated.  But the estimated cost of a new pool at the CCC would be about $25M so the idea was shelved.

There are also other problems with a pool operated by the CCC:

  • YMCA uses an all-inclusive monthly membership model while the CCC uses a fee-for-service approach
  • The YMCA is a non-unionized environment with a heavy dependence on volunteers while the Town is unionized (significant difference in pay scales)
  • YMCA facilities are required to be accessible during all operating hours while the CCC is often converted to single use for major sport tourism events (regularly occurring classes and other uses are rescheduled)
  • The survey of residents also revealed other concerns with parking and traffic.

The conclusion was that in the medium term the Town and YMCA should cooperate as now and that the YMCA should refurbish their existing facility at a cost as high as $8M – some of this would come from the Town.  The long term plan (no dates provided) would still include building a pool at the CCC. 

Memorandum of Understanding

The agreement between the YMCA and the Town includes a summary per the above and some agreed actions. In summary:

  • To better facilitate effective use of resources to minimize duplication, a CCC-YMCA Joint Programming Committee will be formed consisting of staff from each organization.
  • The YMCA/CCC Project Coordinating Committee shall continue to operate and to develop detailed construction designs, drawings, cost estimates and funding models for the refurbishment of the existing Y Facilities to address current program and service gaps in the community for the short to medium-term.
  • The Town will continue to contribute 50% of these planning and design costs for the refurbishment of the existing Y Facilities up to a maximum of $50,000.
  • The Town approves in principle to contribute financially to the refurbishment costs of the Y Facilities and Work with the YMCA to negotiate an affordable use model for aquatic facilities at the Y for Cobourg citizens, particularly those with lower incomes, as a community benefit and a return on the Town’s capital investment.
  • The Town shall commit not to build or allow the building of additional indoor aquatic facilities at the CCC or other Town property without completion of a needs assessment and partner impact study that would have, as an active participant, the YMCA. It is understood that any new aquatic facility would be financially and mutually beneficial, or at the very least not detrimental to either party.
  • The Y and the Town shall work in collaboration to build programming that will most efficiently and effectively utilize the CCC and the Y Facilities to supply complementary, recreational and fitness activities for the community

Links

 

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Deborah OConnor

I’m guessing that if the report was to say “full steam ahead” there would be plenty of comments, all howling about a new way to spend lots of taxpayers’ dollars. Personally I think they made the right decision to say no, at least for now.