Fort Erie has a plan to save the YMCA building and programs, but there's a snag


There's a plan to save services running out of the YMCA in Fort Erie.

The town has joined forces with the Boys and Girls Club of Niagara to try to save the building and programming that runs out of the EJ Freeland Centre.

Five months ago, YMCA of Niagara announced the building in Fort Erie would be closing since it needs millions of dollars in upgrades.

Following the announcement, the Boys and Girls Club met with the Town of Fort Erie about a potential partnership.

Their plan is for the town to acquire the building, and the BGCN to be responsible for managing and operating the services and programs at the facility through a long-term lease.

On June 12th, the Town of Fort Erie sent the YMCA Board of Directors an official offer to purchase the building and its contents for $1, the same amount the building was transferred to the YMCA Niagara in 2008.

CEO of the YMCA of Niagara Kyle Barber spoke on CKTB on Friday to offer up more information of the subject.

He says that while the YMCA did purchase the building for just $1 in 2008, that number is a bit misleading as they also accepted about $740,000 of debt they had to look after.

The YMCA was given until June 28 to accept the offer.

Barber says the YMCA are aiming to respond with a formal response by July 31st.

He repeatedly stressed their priority to "do their due diligence" before they potentially transfer the building over.

To date, the YMCA has not responded to the offer nor has it provided any of the background documents that have been requested by the Town.

“We are trying to work with YMCA Niagara to ensure there is no gap in services being offered to our residents from the facility,” said Mayor Redekop. “Each week that passes makes it more likely that the building will be empty and unused for a period of time. That is not ideal, nor is it in the best interests of the residents of Fort Erie and current YMCA members.”

YMCA officials say the programming at the centre will end in the fall.