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Newcomers to Cobourg have been told for years that the reason Cobourg does not have a swimming pool is because the YMCA is providing that service.  Unfortunately, their prices ($18 per day family or $11 adult) do not compare to (pre renovation) prices at Port Hope’s Pool at the Jack Burger complex so many people from Cobourg have used the Port Hope Pool.  But now the YMCA is planning to rebuild and effectively merge with Cobourg’s Community Centre (C.C.C.).  So far, all that has been done is to set up the framework for discussions between the two entities.

At the C.O.W. meeting on Monday June 22, Council voted to approve a Memorandum of Understanding (M.O.U.).  In essence, the idea is that a pool (or pool complex) would be built at the Community Centre and the total resources of the expanded C.C.C. would be shared between the Town and  the YMCA.  There are no pre-conditions such as low cost swimming being available to non-YMCA members although it was said (I think by the Mayor) that no existing services for seniors would be lost.  Presumably that also means no increase in prices.  Since the Y has services in addition to swimming, there would need to be more space added (apart from a pool) otherwise the increase in usage would reduce the availability to existing C.C.C. users.

Cobourg Community CentreBut the M.O.U. is about respect and openness and generalizations and does not include specifics since these will be the meat of discussions (download M.O.U. here).  With a lot of talk of openness and transparency, it is expected that there will be multiple public meetings but none are currently scheduled.  In fact there is no mention of the timeline at this stage – or for that matter budget or where the money might come from.  The M.O.U. implies that it would be dependent on significant funding from “Federal, Provincial and Municipal levels of government.” 

The intent of any design would be to fit with the C.C.C. Campus plan prepared in 2014 which shows that a pool would be added at the Northwest corner of the existing building.  The MOU includes a statement that: “Complimentary services rather than duplicated services are key to the success of the Integrated Community Campus.”

Management of the project will be by sub-committees (Operations, Facility Design, Community Engagement, and Capital Partnerships & Financial Development) reporting to an eight member “Project Coordinating Committee” as follows:

  • Mayor Gil Brocanier
  • Chief Administrative Officer Stephen Peacock
  • Councillor of Parks and Recreation Theresa Rickerby
  • Director of Public Works Bill Watson
  • YMCA Director Dr. Beth Selby
  • Executive Director Eunice Kirkpatrick
  • Director of Business Development and Finance Mike Bunn
  • YMCA Board member still to be appointed

I don’t know what members at the YMCA think, but most townspeople would hope that this means lower cost access to a pool – it’s hard to see any other new benefits.  How does it help the town if the Y moves its location?  Why do they need to move? Perhaps there needs to be a better sell job on this project.


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