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A public meeting was called Wednesday evening to collect input on what a merger would look like and was it a good idea? Deputy Mayor John Henderson made it clear that Council had not yet decided on the issue and that a decision would be made based on all the facts collected  in the process - and this was the first step.  There were about 35 people at the meeting with many of them obviously primarily users of the YMCA but a lot of questions were raised about both the YMCA and the CCC (Cobourg Community Centre).

The obvious questions are:

  • How much will this cost and can we afford it?
  • How will it be managed? The YMCA and the Town have very different philosophies and organizations – including 1) that the YMCA is non-union and the Town is unionized and 2) that the town subsidizes the CCC but the YMCA breaks even.
  • Will there be enough parking?
  • How will the different fee structures of the YMCA and the CCC be reconciled?

But the meeting was not intended to answer questions so much as ask them. It had a workshop format and asked the following questions:

1a) In terms of indoor facilities and programs in the town, what aspects of the recreational system are working for you (what do you like?)
1 b) What aspects of the recreational system are not working for you (What's missing)?
2. What current gaps in the community's recreational system would a potential public private partnership such as the merger of the YMCA with the CCC address?
3. If you only had $10 to spend, how much money would you spend on the following new facilities?

  • Pool Aquatics Centre
  • Fitness Room Centre
  • Squash Courts
  • Multi-purpose Rooms  
  • Meeting Rooms
  • Gymnasium
  • Other (Please Specify)

4. What opportunities exist for the potential merger of the YMCA and CCC facilities?
5. What are the challenges to overcome with the potential merger of the YMCA and CCC facilities?

The results will be presented to the joint committee on December 19.  The plan and schedule of the decision making process was presented to Council in June with a Cobourg Internet report here.  A decision to proceed is required at each step until designs are potentially prepared in May 2018.

But there was some information (answers if you will) provided at the meeting:

  • Although the idea is described as a merger, the two entities – Town and YMCA – will not be merged.  The YMCA will not go away; it will still be heavily involved as a partner.  It’s better to think of the idea as a merger of facilities.  Some describe the idea as "building a new YMCA building adjacent to the CCC".
  • The programs currently provided by the YMCA and the Town currently meet all needs – the “problem” is duplication, overlap and separate locations.
  • As mentioned at the earlier Parks and Rec meeting, a population of 20,000 is needed to support a pool.  And the pool will not be a lap pool – it will be attractive to a wide range of people – children, seniors, families – in short, a current style recreation pool.
  • The YMCA was built in 1980 and expanded in 1998 and over the next 10 years will need upgrades.
  • Currently about 25% of recreation users travel out of Cobourg (e.g. to the Port Hope Pool).  Of the remainder, about half go to each of the CCC and the YMCA.
  • As reported earlier, about 55% of a limited survey of 550 people feel there is a benefit to locating the YMCA (especially the pool) at the CCC location.
  • The “merge” idea is not new – the Consultants listed 6 other towns who have done something similar – ranging from Welland to Inisfil to Owen Sound.

Separately, Dean Hustwick confirmed to me that he does intend to have beer available at the CCC – thus making it like most other sporting centres.  Other initiatives should gradually make it more of a true Community Centre.


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