The Town of Gravenhurst will negotiate a two-year agreement with the YMCA to continue supporting its health, wellness, and aquatics programs.
According to a report done and presented to Gravenhurst council on Aug. 9 by Shawna Patterson, Interim Director of Recreation, Arts, and Culture, the town currently pays a management fee of $350,000 to the Y, which covers the cost of utilities as well as an administrative fee. Patterson explained it doesn’t include any investments from the town into the facility, located at 101 Centennial Dr.
Patterson told council that this contract was almost agreed to prior to 2020, but the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to negotiations.
After a brief closure, the Y re-opened in January 2021. “Since re-opening, we’ve been in discussions with the YMCA to discuss and assess the implications the pandemic has had on them,” Patterson said.
One issue that’s popped up during the pandemic has been the opening of Crunch Fitness in Gravenhurst. Patterson explained their basic adult membership is $40 cheaper than the Y’s. Crunch, she added, also has multi-level packages allowing for flexible membership, which the Y currently doesn’t. However, she went on to say that the Y is looking at implementing that in the future as an attempt to retain membership.
“There is still uncertainty moving forward,” Patterson said. While many pandemic-related restrictions have been lifted, she pointed out that the pandemic isn’t over. On top of that, she said the Y is dealing with staff shortages and people who are still hesitant to return. She said in whatever deal they make, it has to be what’s best for the town and the community.
Council voted in favour of having staff negotiate a two-year agreement. “It will give us some time to feel the waters over the next couple of years to see where things are lying,” Patterson explained.
Patterson wrote in her report that the Y is currently “finalizing review of the draft agreement.” If they agree to the contract, Patterson said it would be in place within “a couple of months.”