New Barrie YMCA could be coming soon as council approves land deal

Rendering of a possible new YMCA facility to be constructed in downtown Barrie.
Rendering of a possible new YMCA facility to be constructed in downtown Barrie. YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka / Provided

City staff are set to begin negotiations with the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka regarding the development of a new downtown facility.

At Monday evening’s general committee, city council voted in favour of a land swap deal which would give the city land for development which had previously been owned by a Waterloo-based company, HIP Developments.

As part of the deal, the city would acquire land at Dunlop and High streets downtown, where Barrie Central Collegiate used to stand. According to the staff report, the city is looking to use the space to build a new YMCA facility, and will be directing staff to negotiate with the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka regarding a land use agreement.

“Last night was a great step towards us being able to officially announce plans for a new Barrie Y on the former Barrie Central Collegiate site. We are encouraged by council’s decision,” said YMCA CEO Rob Armstrong, in a statement.

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According to Armstrong, the organization is looking to build a, “new kind of Y,” downtown,  which he says will be a community “hub.” The new facility will house community partners and provide a wide variety of programs and services, as well as traditional YMCA programs.

READ MORE: Land-swap deal draft supported unanimously by Barrie city council

According to the YMCA statement, the new facility would be funded through a combination of funds generated through the redevelopment and sale of the YMCA’s Grove Street property, and a capital campaign which will be launched later this year. The development will be phased and the existing facility on Grove Street will remain open until the new YMCA is built.

The land swap deal also includes the city’s acquisition of Fisher Auditorium, which they plan to reconstruct into an event centre.

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