YMCA Re-starts Joint Pool Discussion

In 2015, the YMCA and the Town of Cobourg decided that they wanted to build a new aquatic centre (pool) alongside the Cobourg Community Centre for as much as $25M. The idea included some form of merger between the YMCA and the CCC. Considerable work went into the study but in the end, the idea was abandoned – see Cobourg Blog reports in Resources below. However, at the time a draft MOU was written, perhaps signed. At the next meeting on April 3 of the Community Services, Protection, and Economic Development Standing Committee, the idea of working together and an MOU will be discussed. Although not mentioned specifically, building a joint YMCA/Town pool at the CCC seems to be back on the table.

The YMCA is concerned that their pool needs to be upgraded and seems to see the MOU as starting down the path of getting a new pool. In the staff report by Director Brian Geerts, the first paragraph describing the MOU says:

The YMCA of Northumberland is interested in providing expanded or new facilities that align with its operations, including an aquatic centre, conditioning and fitness areas, multi-purpose spaces, and change rooms.

There is clearly an overlap in services provided by the YMCA and the CCC but it’s not clear that the two organizations can work together.

As originally pointed out, there are operational incompatibilities:

  • 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)

Brian is aware of the previous work but points to future population growth in Cobourg.

The “Background” statement in the proposed MOU says:

The Municipality and the YMCA are exploring a potential partnership to develop a recreation centre in Cobourg that would serve the recreational needs of the citizens of Cobourg and Northumberland County. The plan for a recreation centre is to provide expanded facilities that align with a YMCA operation, including an aquatic centre, conditioning and fitness areas, multi-purpose space and change rooms.

The MOU does not commit to actually doing anything – just to explore options. Maybe a second try at coordinating recreational activities in Cobourg will have more success. However, it does not bode well for its success with its inclusion of “Northumberland” as the target market even though all funding seems to be coming from Cobourg.

Brian recommends that Council pass a motion agreeing to the draft MOU as submitted – see resources.

It’s notable that included in that motion, a paragraph also approves the YMCA as “the single-source provider of outdoor aquatic services at the Centennial Pool for the 2024 season”. As the saying goes, “two birds with one stone”.

Resources

Previous Reports by Cobourg Blog

Standing Committee Documents

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Concerned Taxpayer
3 days ago

I recently read that the forecasted population for Cobourg by 2050 is 122,500 people. Following these stats obviously another new recreational facility will be needed in the years ahead. Let’s get David Piccini and The County onside to begin the grant proposal writing for these services. Everyone has to better care for their health as health care services become overused. Preventive healthcare, health and wellness activities are a way to keep people out of hospitals and Emergency Departments and especially Cobourg as a retirement destination with young families would make tremendous use of these facilities.
Adding to that, with all the new development coming our way what other infrastructure and large ticket venues are being proposed/funded to support the influx of people to the area? E.g. greenspace, conservation, fewer stormwater surcharges as part of that expansion? This has to be addressed too.

Cobourg taxpayer
11 days ago

Has anyone noticed the Y has a special deal which much lowers membership rates. It’s getting very crowded as a result. Will the Y use these membership figures to justify a new facility paid for by the taxpayer?

mrs bigley
12 days ago

Am wondering – moving the “Y” to be atached o the CCC location might just work – as the land that the location of the “Y” is situated on – would/could be a developers dream – lots of space and “location” is everything – might just help or eliminate the cost of a new “Y”

Old Sailor
Reply to  mrs bigley
11 days ago

Mrs. Bigley

I am not sure the Cobourg Y owns their property. May be owned by “head office”. Which would mean no equity to contrubte to the CCC expenditures.

Cathy
15 days ago

The only way this is going to happen is through fundraising. Why should Cobourg residents keep footing the bill when the Cobourg Y is used by people all over the surrounding counties? We can’t even get affordable housing off the ground, or other infrastructure built. This isn’t a priority.

Bryan
Reply to  Cathy
15 days ago

Cathy,

Agree that Taxpayer $$ should not be used.
As for fundraising, the Town’s portion of the CCC cost was to have been raised by fundraising. That went well as we all know and resulted in a multi-million dollar mortgage that won’t be paid off until 2033.

Rob
16 days ago

Nope. No. Nada. This Council, and specifically this Council, is not in a position to make this type of decision. They have all that they can handle with crime, drugs, mental health, 310D, Broke-side encampers, affordability, housing, Durham Street and a waterfront/pier/marina that lacks any vision or action…I can go on.

They are generally personal agenda driven so I suspect several of them will want to pursue this as a legacy for themselves but this should be avoided at all cost by taxpayers (at least for the time being and until another election).

Gerinator
16 days ago

No new capital adventures UNTIL the pier is fixed! I don’t know how many years since the problems with the pier were first identified but it is exactly due to these continued capital $ misadventures that a critical Cobourg infrastructure continues to be put on the back burner.

cornbread
Reply to  Gerinator
15 days ago

Forget the Pier..it’s a waste of good tax money and we can’t afford it anyway.

Cobourglin
16 days ago

The YMCA fees are already too high. You have to buy a years membership if you want to swim. There is no one time fee like in Port Hope. They think the swimmers are going to sneak upstairs to use the gym equipment.
If a joint CCC and YMCA require a YMCA membership then it is too expensive for seniors who could benefit. The only way to save now is to find a group of five who would sign up together for the Y but it till amounts to $30 plus a month and you have to pay for the year upfront.
Why should Cobourg taxpayers fund the Y?
Lets put a roof over the pool down at the harbor and fix the change rooms. Or use some of the trailer grounds and build a new pool overlooking the lake. Imagine how nice that would be in the winter looking out at the lake. At least the existing pool and grounds belong to the town as far as I am aware.

Sue
Reply to  Cobourglin
16 days ago

That’s not correct – you can get a day pass to the Y for $14.50.
Rates – YMCA Northumberland (ymcanrt.org)

You can also pause your Y membership anytime if you’re going on vacation or won’t be using it for some other reason. Yes, the memberships are expensive, but it’s a good cause and a great facility.

Silverhairedsenior
Reply to  Sue
15 days ago

I am a very senior senior who would love to get into the pool to maintain my mobility – but initially, I could probably swim for 15 mins. That’s very expensive when I would need a minimum of 3 non weight bearing sessionsa week to reach my goal

Secondly, if the Y’s mandate is to include all of Northumberland, why not include the County in discussions, rather than the town? When I was a member, I recall many came from Colborne & Grafton

Doug
Reply to  Cobourglin
16 days ago

Location access and parking would certainly be a lot better at the CCC and having a Muti activity centre adds a lot. Nice even to have the little lunch/coffee counter at the CCC. All in one !

Rob
Reply to  Doug
15 days ago

Parking and egress are an issue currently – one main street and a couple of roundabouts. Its a struggle to park and leave the CCC after a Cougars game let alone the Blue Rodeo concert. I’m not sure adding hundreds of daily YMCA users to the mix is a good idea.

Concerned Taxpayer
Reply to  Cobourglin
12 days ago

Agreed. A short-term solution is to keep the Centennial pool open and/or enclose it so it is a year round entity. It is greatly used.

Sandpiper
16 days ago

Is this just another Attempt of our Politicians trying to make us believe they are actually hard at work looking after Our Public Interests This is just another 5 yr old unresolved item.
They Have Resolved / Accomplished –Nothing in the last 2 years
short of increase their own wage s while this Town self destructs right in front of us
Lets not go down another path until we clean up what’s already been started

Rob
Reply to  Sandpiper
15 days ago

There is nothing that Government does, that isn’t done better by private entities, including the YMCA. This is a great facility, great reputation, friendly non-union staff, providing terrific programs for all ages….why do they want to screw that up by partnering with the Town. Do not sell your soul in the name of financing…fundraise, find private partnerships, etc…

Kevin
Reply to  Rob
14 days ago

Rob, I think you make an important point about private entities doing things better than government. What we really need to decide is what do we want government to do and get them to do that as well as possible. Do we really need government to be building swimming pools? Government has been increasing in size over the past few decades. Kindergarten has increased from one year of half days to two years of full days is one example. This gives more government control over our children. In schools some children, too many children, are deciding they have the wrong body parts and are changing genders. Those children may be dealing with difficult issues but it takes a trained professional to really know what the issue is. Teachers, I was one, are not trained to know.

If governments could maintain roads, provide water/sewer services, provide education, health care and do these things well we would all be better off. We don’t need government to provide swimming pools.

Kevin
Reply to  Kevin
13 days ago

Further to my point about governments getting involved with too many things:
ANALYSIS: As Ottawa’s Power Over Child Care Has Grown, So Have Deficits and Wait Lists | The Epoch Times
This morning I read this article about the problems with daycare. We really should stop lying to people about how important careers are and let them stay home and take care of their own children. No job I have had is anywhere close to the importance and satisfaction I have had taking care of my children.
We don’t need government raising children anymore than we need them building swimming pools.

Last edited 13 days ago by Kevin
NAI
Reply to  Sandpiper
13 days ago

This town???? Our country is being dismantled as we watch, and what they want it to become will be nothing close to what we want – it will only be what a ‘select’ few think is the right way to go – and we are just rats in the experiment.

But back to the topic at hand, before I raise the ire of Mr. Draper (and rightfully so!!) this is yet another example of our town getting involved in something that really needs to be parceled out to the private sector. Sure, will it’s use be a bit more expensive – absolutely, for those who would use it. But that doesn’t mean we all need to pay for the luxuries of a few. Unless you subscribe to social contracts and socialism in general. Which I personally don’t. User pays works for me. What I can’t afford I don’t lose sleep over and I find suitable alternatives. Like a lake. Or a pond.

Dang it – I’m getting curmudgeonly again. I’d like my tax dollars go towards something where the return on investment is much better than what we are experiencing now. To throw money at ideological and hopeful ventures has to stop.

Kathleen
16 days ago

The operational incompatibilities between YMCA and CCC listed are pretty darned significant…
Add to that, the YMCA has always been open and available to ALL people who request and require bathing and personal facilities.
Don’t keep flogging a dead horse and wasting staff hours = $$ in working out an MOU on this one. IMO.

Lemon Cake
16 days ago

Definitely think a beefed up recreation facility could better serve the needs of the town – I just have no confidence in the County or council to collaborate together as stewards of Cobourg’s limited resources. I feel like the town has become a dumping ground for the County’s unsolved problems and half baked ideas.

cornbread
16 days ago

We ain’t got the doe for a $25 million pool in this town…Make due with what you have like most of us taxpayers in this high cost town.

Concerned Taxpayer
16 days ago

Cobourg is sorely lacking in recreational facilities that is equitable to all ages. The CCC is on the right path but is missing a key recreational component – a pool. Swimming is one of the last equitable and relatively less expensive sports that benefits a community at large, all ages and with very little money outlayed. If we are so focused on affordable housing, inclusivity for sports is an issue too. PH has a beautiful large pool and arena combined – Jack Burger.

Although I am a previous Y member, the Y does serve a purpose too.

Cobourg as a growing town + many retirees and young families need an all encompassing athletic and recreational centre for health and wellness.

The Pickleball classes are always full and it is hard to enrol, classes at the CCC fill up quickly,etc. There is a tremendous need to expand the CCC to accommodate the influx of new residents to Cobourg and area.

CCc Infrastructure is the key!

If the NHH fundraisers can raise funds so promptly let’s try it for the CCC too!

Sandpiper
Reply to  Concerned Taxpayer
16 days ago

If and when you Build it they will Come
When you Find the $$$$$$$$$$ Money and stay on Budget YOU CAN BUILD
Not until and No more Taxes

The CCC was supposed to be a Breakeven or Profitable Venture years ago .
Besides it sits empty 50 % of the time as does the Venture 13 Building across the Rd.
and Now we have No Planning Department either . We are paying Wages for
What exactly .

Dave
16 days ago

I always thought private organizations funded themselves through fees and through the head office who would receive funding I thought also from the United Way. I don’t see it as approrpriate the tax payer should be asked to make donation to assist the YMCA.

However tax payer assisted community centres are a common element in towns and cities. They make available recreation and programs to the community at large and we all pay taxes even the lower income people. Not to provide them would seem facilities for only people with higher income. The poor need such services too. I recall as a young lad growing up in the then worst area of Toronto with many low income people going to the Kiwanis Club, community centres and the church who offered various activities along with being an alter boy. It makes a very poor community not to offer such services. I see the minimum wage is to be raised yet again – waiting to see what increase there is to the OAS. Seniors buying powers grow less and less – people that worked all their lives and most above minimum wage. The Y is a little to rich in price point for many and with the carbon tax by the Feds come Monday they will have even less money as groceries and other transported goods will rise once again as they also compete with the new dollars chasing the goods by the increase to minimum wage workers.

RUSS
Reply to  Dave
16 days ago

Don’t we have bigger fish to fry with $25M of taxpayers dollars ….. like possibly ” The Harbour ” ????

Sandpiper
Reply to  RUSS
16 days ago

Yes they Could reduce our Taxes with the Hidden $$ of ours they intend to spend .

Doug
Reply to  RUSS
15 days ago

Should the Harbour rely on community support ? The total number of boats moored there are only owned by a relatively small group of people. The CCC is used by a significantly larger portion of the community. I’d love to own one of those beautiful boats but it clearly takes a significantly larger income to buy anything like that. Swimming suits, running shoes and skates are affordable for just about everyone.

Bryan
Reply to  Doug
15 days ago

Doug,

20+ years ago, the Town bought the harbour from the feds for $1. What a deal……NOT

Dave
Reply to  RUSS
15 days ago

Did you not read my post RUSS? Before you comment read what the person wrote.

Silverhairedsenior
Reply to  RUSS
15 days ago

I think it’s completely unreasonable that a small town with a small tax base is expected to maintain a harbour used by a very small percentage of local taxpayers; do what Olivia Chow did with road/highway maintenance & offload the harbour to another level of government

Dave
Reply to  Silverhairedsenior
15 days ago

Possible idea. I’m sure you recall the trip to India which was to assist in gaining a head start on government grants. I see Peterborough has been blessed with quite a few. Myself I am not in favour of the Town subsidizing a private enterprise such as the YMCA also finding as Kathleen mentioned above the CCC and YMCA operate under very different fees administration with differing community aspects.

Old Sailor
16 days ago

The paragraphs below from one of John’s links above should sound alarm bells for Cobourg Council. 2017 estimated capital costs were $16-$25 million. A 7 year old cost estimate. We might be able to completely fix all the harbour walls and build a nice restaurant over the marina building for that price range. Let’s not sign anything committing Cobourg to this proposal. Perhaps the County should step up……………….?

Capital Costs — the cost of constructing a 40,000 to 60,000 square foot addition to the CCC to accommodate YMCA activities, particularly a modern and innovative aquatic centre, was estimated to be at least $16 million and as high as $25 million or more, depending on the design and features (not including additional space requirements to maintain the CCC’s ability to host major sporting events without interrupting regular YMCA programming), This price tag would be considerably higher than the $12-14 million originally envisioned for a new facility.

This amount of capital outlay would only be possible through major contributions from Provincial and Federal funding programs. Through discussions with both levels of government it was learned that 1/3 funding for a project of this scope ($16-25 million) was highly unlikely for the foreseeable future, although a project with a more modest cost could be possible.

Ken Strauss
16 days ago

As John mentions:

  • The YMCA is funded solely by those who use their facilities, volunteers and efficient non-union staff reduce operating costs and it is open at all times.
  • The CCC is funded by everyone’s property taxes whether they use it or not, highly paid union staff operate the facility at a loss of over $1M each year and it is unavailable at certain times.

How will an amalgamation be beneficial to Cobourg’s taxpayers? It seems a plan that is guaranteed to cost us more. Considering the county’s foisting of unwanted drug/homeless facilities on Cobourg, why would we consider any scheme that might be used by others in Northumberland? Between repairing failing infrastructure, the new stormwater fee and ever increasing our already high property taxes, we cannot afford even more expenses!

ben
Reply to  Ken Strauss
16 days ago

why would we consider any scheme that might be used by others in Northumberland?”

Because they would pay to use it! Surely you cannot turn down more revenue Ken, might stop you bitching about your high taxes!

Cobourg taxpayer
Reply to  ben
16 days ago

How much are “they” willing to pay to use it? The Y fees which some say are too high or the CCC fees which do not even come close to bringing in revenue? Once again the wants far outweigh the ability for the 22000 people in Cobourg and the 90000 residents of the county to support a large facility. YMCA are closing all over due to lack of members because people can’t afford to join. The analogy of your eyes are too big for your stomach comes to mind. How about the supporters of this large recreation facility explain how much money they currently have available and where the rest will come from but not from the Cobourg taxpayer?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben
16 days ago

Ben, that sounds plausible until one realizes that they don’t today and never have. The rest of Northumberland freeloads on the dubious premise that they bring business to Cobourg. How does that help with our property taxes? How does that help with the damage from 310 Division?