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YMCA Guy-Favreau to close permanently, citing soaring renovation costs

The Guy-Favreau YMCA is set to close for good come Dec. 31, 2019. File/Global News

The Guy-Favreau YMCA in Montreal’s Chinatown neighbourhood is closing its doors for good, come year’s end.

The announcement Wednesday was billed as the “beginning of a period of transformation and reinvention” for the organization, according to a written statement issued by the YMCAs of Québec.

Last year, the Guy-Favreau YMCA reached a deal with the federal government to renew its lease for 10 years, at the time saving the community organization from closing its doors.

The YMCA has been housed in Complexe Guy-Favreau, which is owned by the federal government, for over 30 years.

In 2006, however, the federal government started charging meaningful rent, and by March 2017, the YMCA announced it would likely have to leave unless it could find a solution.

READ MORE: After deal with government, Chinatown YMCA to remain open for at least 10 years

After securing the 10-year lease, the hope was to renovate the centre but soaring costs in the construction industry have put an end to the plan, according to YMCAs of Québec.

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The organization says renovation costs were initially estimated to be around $500,000 but have since tripled.

“It has become impossible to operate the centre under the current conditions,” reads the statement.

Programs held at the Guy-Favreau YMCA, including Alternative Gym programs as well as physical and aquatic activities, will be moved to the Downtown YMCA on Stanley Street.

As part of the restructuring, two other YMCAs in Montreal will also undergo significant changes.

The Pointe-Saint-Charles and Hochelaga-Maisonneuve YMCAs will be losing their physical and aquatic activities as of Dec. 31. Youth and community programs are safe for now.

READ MORE: Chinese community loses cultural center, sounds alarm about gentrification

The organization says they will “gradually be re-evaluated and relocated.”

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Despite the changes, the YMCAs of Québec maintains its commitment and says there are no plans to leave either neighbourhood.

The transformations were deemed necessary for the YMCAs to “reshape their presence and program delivery in order to better meet the changing needs of the individuals and communities they serve, as well as to ensure their sustainability as a charity.”

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