Abbotsford is growing. We will need another recreation centre eventually. Arguably, we needed one 30,000 people ago.
As such, the YMCA deal makes sense, both economically, and for what it would bring to our city. In addition to revitalizing central Abbotsford, the YMCA’s facilities and youth programs would be of tremendous benefit to the nearly 2,000 school children in the area.
We’d be giving these kids, many of whom are disadvantaged, positive alternatives to crime, drugs, or to hanging out at the mall.
Getting the YMCA deal done now will be far cheaper than if we wait another five or 10 years, and then pay for a new facility by ourselves.
Building costs and demands for other projects are only going to increase. Further, there is no guarantee that a similar cost-sharing proposal from the YMCA would still be on the table.
If we again take our all-too-familiar, short-sighted position of “maybe later when we have the money,” it will only end up costing us more. We should have learned this by now. As we grew from village to city, we did virtually nothing to address our population’s growing needs. By the mid-2000s, we were so ridiculously far behind that we had to play catch-up with Plan A. We would have saved massive amounts of tax dollars had we built those projects one at a time, starting decades ago.
We must do as forward-thinking cities do and ensure that our infrastructure keeps pace with our population growth. Let’s bring the YMCA to Abbotsford and invest in our youth and collective future.
Trevor Wight, Abbotsford