Abbotsford mayor backs YMCA plan

The city is being asked to provide half of the $35 million cost.

Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman is throwing his support behind a proposed YMCA construction project that would cost the city approximately $17.5 million.

The project, which was first proposed in 2010, was originally slated to cost $30 million, with the city providing half of the funding. The price tag is now expected to be about $35 million.

“I am in support of it. What the city has to do is find a way to get our share,” said Banman, who noted he was speaking for himself, and not on behalf of council.

No agreement or decision has yet been reached. He said the project is still in the conceptual stage and too many “pieces of the puzzle” are missing, including input from the public.

Currently there is only a memorandum of understanding between the YMCA and the city, as well as Fraser Health, which would donate the land that housed the former MSA Hospital.

With the city currently behind on pools and recreation facilities, Banman said this could be a “fantastic way to look after the taxpayers’ dollars.”

“This is a really, really smart way to spend money for the city because we are basically spending 50 cent dollars.”

With a projected opening in 2016, the YMCA would pay for the facility’s operating costs, which is another incentive for the city.

“It would be wrong and inappropriate for the city not to investigate something like this, when somebody is offering you a $17-million gift. I owe it to the taxpayers to find a way to try and make this work if that’s what they wish,” said Banman.

City manager Frank Pizzuto said staff will have to demonstrate to council how the funding can be put into the five-year capital plan.

He said it’s difficult to get an exact figure, because the project is still in such an early stage.

“I think if we say that our contribution is $17.5 million, then we’ll say we have to do it within that, whatever it takes,” said Pizzuto.

The new building is expected to be approximately 60,000 square feet, with a pool, multi-purpose gymnasiums and child care services.

Council is scheduled to debate the 2013 budget during the next six weeks.

Just Posted

Abbotsford’s city centre and downtown plans to head for public hearing

After years of planning work, final chance for public to add opinion will come in April

Abbotsford counsellor publishing book on experience with ADHD

Ted Leavitt hopes to break barriers for those with the disorder, reduce stigma from those without it

Fraser Valley Bandits draft Abbotsford’s Joel Friesen first overall

Professional basketball team reveals 13 players selected at CEBL draft

Abbotsford council votes to increase their event expense limits

Increase needed in case annual conferences require significant travel, staff say

Plans redrawn for Fraser Valley Inn redevelopment

Owner of building scales back plans on inn site, adds proposal to build second low-rise

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

B.C. VIEWS: The hijacking of our education system gathers speed

Children taught to strike and shout fringe far-left demands

Judges on Twitter? Ethical guidance for those on the bench under review

Canadian judges involvement in community life are among issues under review

VIDEO: Vancouver fall to Seattle in Game 2 of the playoffs

Thunderbirds topple the Giants 4-1 in Langley, evening the Western Conference series one game each

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Vancouver-bound transit bus involved in fatal crash near Seattle

One man was killed and a woman injured in crash with bus purchased by TransLink

Most Read