YMCA plan ‘progressing’ in Abbotsford

Organization pursues facility, but still needs $15 million from the city.

An Abbotsford YMCA is closer to reality, but the project still needs the approval of council – and a $15-million commitment.

Steve Butz, the president and CEO of the YMCA of Vancouver, addressed the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Wednesday. Afterward, social media was abuzz with posts suggesting the project was a “go.”

However, Butz later said city involvement is critical.

“There’s been lots of great progress. We do not have a confirmed project at this point.”

The project would be a partnership between the city, YMCA and Fraser Health, which owns the land – the former MSA Hospital site. Butz said there are many symmetries between the programs offered at a YMCA and other health-related facilities proposed for the re-development of the site.

Should the city decide to participate, it and the YMCA would each put up approximately $15 million for construction of the building, and the YMCA would run the facility.

“We’re coming to a point where our key partners will be making their decisions,” said Butz.

Abbotsford city manager Frank Pizzuto said, “The city would value the addition of a YMCA in Abbotsford as it would provide recreational, community and social programs that enhance community. The city has had discussions with the YMCA and will consider the budget request and implications as part of the 2013 budget, which begins this week.”

Butz said the fact his organization assumes all operating costs is what makes YMCA projects especially attractive to municipal governments.

“Building it is the cheap money,” he said. “It is expensive to build, but infinitely more expensive to operate.” He said the payroll alone, for the equivalent of 60 full-time employees, will cost about $2.5 million per year.

He said most municipal governments are looking for new ways of providing services to residents for the lowest cost, and many municipalities find the YMCA partnership attractive.

He said the YMCA has done market research that asks the question “Is this going to matter to the people of Abbotsford.” and also works to gauge the level of support his organization will find from donors. He is encouraged by what he sees in Abbotsford on both counts.

In addition to the full-time employment, the construction of the facility will bring the city 130 person-years worth of employment.

A “rough outline” of the facility is a 60,000-square-foot building with a pool, multi-purpose gymnasiums and child care services. YMCA is the largest provider of child care in B.C.

The roots of the YMCA are as an outreach organization targeting young Christian men, which began about 160 years ago. Now it serves the entire community, is in 125 countries, and “we reflect values common to all religions,” said Butz.

Just Posted

Fixing Abbotsford’s bus system means cutting some services first, council told

Planners say increasing reliability requires service cuts until new buses arrive in 2020

Purple Day supports epilepsy awareness

Event on March 26 includes walk/run in Abbotsford

Your daily commute and weather forecast: Mar. 22, 2019

Mostly clear sailing in today’s commute. Rain to start this evening, continuing in showers tomorrow

UFV introduces first mindfulness graduate program in Canada

Most of the University of the Fraser Valley program is offered online

How will changes to Abbotsford’s bus system affect you?

Ten different routes will see changes this summer as the city’s transit system gets an overhaul

Fierce feline spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Surrey RCMP investigate alleged assault that may have been a ‘driver dispute’

Police say a vehicle fled the scene after an alleged assault this morning at 96th Avenue and 152nd Street

Second case of measles reported in the B.C. Interior

Case is connected to an earlier measles case in 100 Mile House

Police watchdog investigating after man falls out third-storey window in Vancouver

The man fell to the ground and was taken to hospital with serious injuries

Cheetahs will not prosper in Creston: Permit rejected for two big cats

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

GM announces jobs, electric vehicle after Trump criticism

The company says it will spend $300 million at its plant in Orion Township

Trucker who caused Broncos crash likely to be deported: lawyer

The Crown has asked that Sidhu serve 10 years in prison

China chemical plant blast kills 47, injures hundreds more

This is one of China’s worst industrial accidents in recent years

Most Read