After nearly 65 years of operation the downtown YMCA will be shutting down, and its 120 or so residents will have to find new lodging.
Nick Parkinson the president and CEO of the Northern Alberta YMCA told Global News it wasn’t easy to close the location.
“Certainly that decision has not been made lightly,” Parkinson said. “In fact it’s been two-and-a-half years of extensive review by a downtown area task force of board members and of senior management.”
Parkinson said it wasn’t one single factor that prompted the closure.
“Not one factor has led to us making this choice,” Parkinson said. “First is that the current operation is not viable and we are running in a deficit position (annually). And that is projected to get worse as time goes on.”
Parkinson said another issue is that the building is starting to show its age, being almost seven decades old.
He added that they aren’t just kicking their residents out.
“As an organization that’s all about helping people… we are not wanting to put people out on the street,” Parkinson explained. “Hence, why in a year from now we will be closing our doors. We’re committed to working with those who need assistance, and our partners, to find appropriate, suitable accommodation.”
The downtown YMCA will officially close on Oct. 31, 2017.
Residents were notified Friday of the closure. Marc April has lived at the YMCA downtown on and off for 20 years. While he knew the old building would have to close down eventually, he said he was shocked to learn the organization wasn’t going to build a new facility. He said he’s going to miss the sense of community.
“I’ve gravitated to the community here,” he said. “People come from different walks of life and hearing their stories and talking about yours and everything else, it’s always been a great thing to come be in here. Even if you leave, you always somehow come back. With files from Global News (km)