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Three YMCAs from Montreal will be closed on December 31 for financial reasons



The YMCA for Ga-Jawore will require costly renovations to remain financially viable and the cost of these renovations has increased to such an extent that it is unbearable, says YMCA Quebec CEO and President Stephen Vilancour.

That Mahoney / Montreal newspaper files

Three Montreal-area YMCAs – Guy-Javora, Point-Saint-Charles and Yochelega-Masonnev – will be closed at the end of next month for financial reasons, the YMCA chief from Quebec said Wednesday.

Stephen Villancourt, president and CEO of YMCA Quebec, confirmed that the YMCA is "undergoing a transformation" that will include the closure of three of the 10 Montreal sports centers and the YMCA community center.

In an interview with the Montreal Gazette shortly after he told staff news Wednesday afternoon, Vaillancourt said the Poin-Saint-Charles and Yochelega-Masonnev MMS have had "several hundred thousand dollars deficits each year" for the last 30 years.

For its part, Guy Yavora YMCAs will require expensive renovations to remain financially viable and the cost of these renovations has increased to such an extent that it is unbearable, said Vaillancourt.

"The YMCA of Quebec is a legal entity," he said. "There are some centers that have redundancies, while others can have difficult years and we could function that way for a while. But when 30 years have passed, some centers have a deficit … not something we can pursue in the long run. “

The organization intends to continue some sports programming on leased locations in all three neighborhoods, he said.

For example, a program called Loisiers Integrities, which provides trainers to help people with a physical disability stay active, will continue for at least three months in Yochelega-Masonnev after it closes on December 31st. A program offering homeless people fitness activity called Alternative Fitness Outside of Point-St-Charles Y will be relocated to YMCA city center.

Day care renting a location in Point-St-Charles YMCA will have the option to remain in the building for at least the next 12 months, he said.

Guy-Jawore, Point-St.-Charles and Hochelega-Masonov Ј members will be able to access sports and recreational facilities of all remaining YMCAs in the Montreal region with their current membership cards, at no extra cost.

He noted that the YMCA is a charity that provides much more than sports centers in the communities it serves. The organization has 40 points of service across the province, including day and summer camps, a language school and a home for asylum seekers.

Its 10 sports centers and community centers are in Montreal, but the organization is building an 11th center in St. Roch neighborhood in Quebec City.

Vaillancourt acknowledged the YMCAs that are being shut down are in poorer communities, but said it was time to withdraw the financial health of the entire provincial organization.

"We have to be cautious about our financial situation and in situations where deficits are ongoing, we have no choice but to make some difficult decisions."

Community activists in neighborhoods where the CS will be closed have raised concerns on Wednesday.

"For young people here, because we do not have a high school in the neighborhood, it is a really important place for young people to socialize in a positive way," said Fiona Crowling, executive director of Share It Warm, a community-based group fighting hunger. And poverty in Pointe-Saint-Charles. "A lot of activities go there and kids need sports."

She said she is also concerned about the future of certain youth programs that YMCAs have developed in recent years.

"My concern is for continuity and support for families," she said. "When you are struggling as a family or a child, change is difficult."

May Jiu, an activist for equality rights of the Chinese community in Quebec, said the closure of the Guy Yavoura YMCA would be a great loss for members of that community living in China.

“Chinese women's groups and seniors really depend on the Y for many of their sports and social activities. I don't think they'll make their way downtown, "Stanley St said. Ј she said. She noted that the Guy-Javora facility was adapted to the needs of the Chinese community and hired some of its members to lead classes and activities.

Villancour said about 165 workers – 20 full-time and 145 part-time – will be affected by the closure. Not everyone will lose their jobs, he said, as the YMCA will try to relocate or re-hire as many of those workers as possible if they are ready.

The other seven YMCA centers in Montreal will continue operations as usual.

Guy-Favreau Y was threatened with closure in 2017 when the rental agreement with the federal government expired, and her rent increased from a nominal $ 1 a year to $ 240,000 a year. After public outcry, the federal government granted the center a one-year return. The new contract Y was to pay $ 1 by spring 2018, then $ 5,000 a month since then.

Villancourt praised the federal government for efforts to help keep that Y open, but he said the cost of renovating the rooms needed to replace the center, shower and entrance sealed the decision to close the facility.

Guy-Jawora Y opened in 1986, Jocelega-Masonnev And in 1980, and Point-St-Charles F in 1860.

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