Pla­cen­tia looks to YMCA for po­ten­tial part­ner­ship

Let­ter of in­tent could pave way for non-profit group to op­er­ate new pool

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY ANDREW ROBIN­SON TC MEDIA ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

The Town of Pla­cen­tia is gear­ing up for a new pool slated to sub­stan­tially im­prove what it can of­fers res­i­dents when it comes to recre­ation. With that in mind, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity is look­ing for the right kind of group to look af­ter pro­gram­ming and op­er­a­tions, and it be­lieves YMCA New­found­land and Labrador rep­re­sents the right fit for the task.

With a new swim­ming pool on the hori­zon, the Town of Pla­cen­tia is look­ing to part­ner up with a non-profit group known for ap­peal­ing to the needs of peo­ple from all walks of life.

Last Mon­day, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the town and the YMCA of New­found­land and Labrador signed a let­ter of in­tent re­gard­ing the new Pla­cen­tia Pool and Well­ness Cen­tre. The hope is the town and the YMCA can even­tu­ally ham­mer out a long-term agree­ment that would in­volve the lat­ter group de­liv­er­ing pro­grams out of the fa­cil­ity, which will also in­clude a fit­ness cen­tre.

“I guess it was al­most a mu­tual thing,” Mayor Wayne Power Jr. told The Com­pass. “We both sort of started to reach out to one an­other at the one time. We saw the Y in­volved with other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in sim­i­lar projects, so we got think that maybe this was some­thing that could fit here, and be­fore I guess we got to call them, they were call­ing us.”

Fund­ing for the pool was an- nounced last fall and comes from the Voisey’s Bay De­vel­op­ment Agree­ment. The $4.5-mil­lion com­mit­ment from the prov­ince will not be avail­able un­til 2017, but Power said work is un­der­way to en­sure the well­ness cen­tre is shovel-ready for next year. The lo­cal Lions Club raised hun­dreds-of-thou­sands of dol­lars for the project.

A new Marys­town YMCA opened in Fe­bru­ary of this year, and YMCA New­found­land and Labrador CEO Ja­son Brown likens that project to the one in Pla­cen­tia. Peo­ple can avail of swim­ming there through a mem­ber­ship or day-pass. It has a fit­ness cen­tre and in­door play­ground, and child-mind­ing ser­vices are also avail­able.

“The town owns the build­ing, and the YMCA op­er­ates it un­der a long-term agree­ment, and the re­sponse has been out­stand­ing,” said Brown, not­ing the Marys­town YMCA cur­rently has 1,500 mem­bers.

“That’s ex­actly what we were look­ing for — an or­ga­ni­za­tion with the ex­pe­ri­ence to come in, of­fer a good cat­a­logue of pro­grams that could be of good use to the res­i­dents of the com­mu­nity,” added the mayor.

Draw­ings for the fa­cil­ity in Pla­cen­tia in­clude a pool, fit­ness cen­tre, multi-pur­pose space and change rooms, all con­nected to the ex­ist­ing hockey arena Unity Parc. The town is not look­ing to have YMCA New­found­land and Labrador take over op­er­a­tions of the rink, ac­cord­ing to the mayor.

YMCA New­found­land and Labrador has long­stand­ing op­er­a­tions in Cor­ner Brook, Grand Falls-Wind­sor and St. John’s, plus a new lo­ca­tion in the Bay-St. Ge­orge area. The group is also work­ing with the Town of Happy Val­ley-Goose-Bay to de­velop a YMCA in that com­mu­nity.

That’s ex­actly what we were look­ing for — an or­ga­ni­za­tion with the ex­pe­ri­ence to come in, of­fer a good cat­a­logue of pro­grams that could be of good use to the res­i­dents of the com­mu­nity. Wayne Power Jr.

ANDREW ROBIN­SON/TC MEDIA

Pla­cen­tia Mayor Wayne Power Jr., left, YMCA New­found­land and Labrador CEO Ja­son Brown and pro­vin­cial board chair­woman Lau­rie Skin­ner chat prior to the sign­ing of a let­ter of in­tent for the Pla­cen­tia Pool and Well­ness Cen­tre.

This is what the new pool in Pla­cen­tia might look like once it’s built.

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