Several add-ons proposed to downtown YMCA project

YMCA is also being asked investigate incorporating a warming centre at their new facility

A warming centre and an enclosed corridor linking the Barrie Public Library (BPL) and YMCA were add-ons to a motion approved by Barrie city council on Monday.

The motion declares surplus a two-acre property on Worsley Street for the sole purpose of an agreement of purchase and sale with the YMCA of Simcoe Muskoka. The H-Block as it is known is located downtown next to the BPL.

An amendment introduced by Coun. Mike McCann was approved, requesting the YMCA come back with a solid plan with the City of Barrie to connect the library and YMCA to be safe, warm and enclosed.

“I’d like to see the YMCA and library get married,” said McCann. “I want to see them attached by a corridor.”

McCann gave several reasons why this was necessary and said the project needed to be looked at through parents eyes, using an example where there might be multiple kids, some taking swimming lessons at the YMCA and others who may want to go meet friends at the library, do a project or homework.

“I want to give the kids and the parents a safe and convenient corridor that will connect both buildings.”

Coun. Keenan Aylwin, one of two councillors who sit on the library board, said the library has been in conversation with the YMCA for months now planning how cross-programming can happen and how the two buildings can be connected.

“Our master facilities plan at the public library actually includes some improvements for the downtown library that would facilitate a better pedestrian access between the buildings,” Aylwin added.

As part of the deal, the YMCA would also be requested to investigate incorporating space for a warming centre, which would operate from December until March, at its new $50 million facility and could also be used as a community engagement room or a use preferred by the Y during the rest of the year.

The new 77,000 square foot YMCA would include a youth centre with transitional housing and outreach support in partnership with Youth Haven, licensed child-care spaces, recreation areas for fitness programs, and rehabilitation space for cardiac and post-care patients.