The YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka has announced it has halted its plans for a new community hub in downtown Barrie due to construction costs, among other things.
The organization says that it will continue searching for the ideal spot beyond the downtown H-block site.
YMCA officials say they are focused on finding a site that will maximize the benefits and the impact of the YMCA, facility partners, Youth Haven, and Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre.
“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,” said Jill Tettmann, President and CEO.
“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.
“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.”
The YMCA president says a number of unforeseen circumstances have attributed to the stoppage.
Those include a much higher cost of construction at close to $90 million – nearly double the original, pre-pandemic estimate of around $45 million.
Tettmann told Barrie 360 that underground parking alone, which is necessary because of the size of the site, would cost roughly $12 million.
On the up-side, she said she’s received calls and emails from people, including developers, asking if they’d like to partner on a new facility.
“Opening up this conversation is really what we wanted to do with our announcement,” said Tettmann. “We wanted to say, ‘where we’ve been planning … it’s not going to work for us,’ and we wanted to open up that discussion in our community.”
Tettmann says they are in a bit of a hurry to figure out other options or they’ll lose their provincial grant.
“With this state-of-the-art facility, we really want to be in the Barrie area serving members and residents,” said Tettmann. “We have a goal to be shovel-ready by the end of 2024 if we are to maintain our provincial grant.”
Feature image – file photo – Barrie 360