YMCA of Simcoe Muskoka picks potential location for new home in Barrie

The Y explored 10 potential locations

The YMCA of Simcoe Muskoka is finally hoping to have a place it can call home sweet home in Barrie.

The organization announced on Wednesday that it has selected 555 Bayview Drive as the potential location for the new Barrie YMCA.

If the address sounds familiar, you are right. It is also where Sadlon Arena is located.

According to a news release, the search follows 10 months of extensive site assessments and more than 10 potential locations to seek out the best available location to provide the YMCA with the opportunity to create a safe, vibrant and welcoming centre that has been in the works for so long.

“The YMCA community’s confidence in and commitment to a new Barrie facility has never been higher,” explained Jill Tettmann, CEO of the YMCA of Simcoe Muskoka. “This process was about finding the best available site to serve our members and community, to meet the needs of our partners, and to best steward the generous contributions of our donors and government partners – because our community of supporters is what allows the YMCA to bring exciting capital projects like this to life.”

Former proposed location at Dunlop Street West/Bradford Street

The community centre goes beyond a place with health and fitness facilities, and an aquatic centre, but there will also be youth outreach programs and transitional housing, community meeting spaces, rehabilitation programs, and an indoor playground.

“It’s the right mix of programs and services, developed through extensive community engagement, to meet the needs of Barrie and the surrounding area for another 100 years,” the agency stated.

Mayor Alex Nuttall says the city is looking forward to everything that the new YMCA facility will bring.

“The immense community effort to support the YMCA in finding the best-suited location is proof that the residents of Barrie will be thrilled to see this project finally come to fruition. The YMCA and the City of Barrie share the common goal: to ensure Barrie is a safe and welcoming city with ample opportunities of success for all the citizens of Barrie. We’re excited to see what the future holds for the Barrie YMCA.”

The next step in the process of building the Barrie YMCA is developing a new site plan, negotiating a land lease with the City of Barrie, reviewing the site’s physical and environmental conditions, and more.

Last summer, the YMCA of Simcoe Muskoka backed away from a plan to build its new facility in the so-called H-Block, adjacent to the public library downtown, due to rising costs, estimated at approximately $90 million.

Originally, the YMCA went public with plans to build the new facility on the site of the former Barrie Central Collegiate on Dunlop Street West and Bradford Street, but that plan was uprooted when the developer shifted gears on plans for the property.

In 2021, the Ontario government provided the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka with a $29.9 million grant for the new build, and that money must be used by 2027.

Banner image – file photo – Barrie 360