The YMCA of Simcoe-Muskoka will be re-opening in 2021 and will be supported by the Town of Gravenhurst council.

The local YMCA temporarily closed in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. CEO of the YMCA of Simcoe Muskoka Rob Armstrong spoke to council earlier this week to detail their plan for re-opening next year. He was joined by Regional General Manager of the Health and Wellness Centre Ryan Purdy.

Purdy explained that prior to the pandemic they had 1,860 members. “Recent surveys by the YMCA of Simcoe-Muskoka indicate a return rate of roughly 52 percent of our adult membership,” he added on what they’re expecting when they return to business. “We would require about 1,460 active adult users to purchase a membership to be viable.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Purdy said they had over 40 staff and 20 volunteers. They had to lay 38 people off in March when they closed. They brought two people back prior to Thanksgiving to help in-person and online but had to lay one of them off.

Because of the pandemic, the YMCA of Simcoe-Muskoka has lost half of its annual revenue. That equals around $800,000. 

“Across the association, we’ve already started taking the necessary steps to move us back to profitability,” Purdy explained. “We’ve spent a significant amount of time repairing the facility and cleaning.” He boasted to council that the facility looks “just like” the day they opened.

The ask from Armstrong and Purdy was a one-time subsidy of $61,000 for COVID-19 and to negotiate a one-year operational agreement that would see the township cover the $275,000 cost of utilities. 

That motion was approved by council.

When they do re-open, Armstrong said they will take a “phased-in” approach. He explained that doing it that way will allow them to comply with the standards set by the Ministry and build trust in the community.