Three Montreal YMCAs set to 'partially or completely' close at the end of the year

YMCA

The YMCA located in the downtown Guy-Favreau complex is set to close at the end of the year, while two other Montreal YMCAs — in Pointe St. Charles and Hochelaga-Maisonneuve — are set to undergo significant transformations.

Stéphane Vaillancourt, the president and CEO of Quebec's YMCA network, says the organization has embarked on a period of "transformation and reinvention" — which essentially means smaller, more localized centres instead of the larger, full-service locations it has now.

"In an effort to increase the YMCA's positive impact on the lives of our members and developing stronger bonds with our communities, we are seeking to reinvent our way of operating, our programming and the very definition of what a YMCA is," Vaillancourt said in a statement. "Knowing that needs vary not only from one neighbourhood to another, but also over time, we have learned from our experience that our work is not tied to a single model that focuses solely on large centres."

The Guy-Favreau Y will close completely by Dec. 31, 2019 — though the decision has more to do with a steep hike in costs to renovate the facility than anything else. In 2018, the facility was saved from the brink of extinction after signing a 10-year lease with its landlord, the federal government. But Vaillancourt says the cost of carrying out necessary renovations has tripled since then.

Alternative Gym programs and physical and aquatic activities will be relocated to the downtown Y on Stanley St.

Meanwhile, the YMCA intends to continue to serve the Pointe St. Charles and Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighborhoods, but it will end physical and aquatic activities at both centres on Dec. 31. In addition, youth and community programs will be re-evaluated.

Vaillancourt says the changes will affect 20 full-time staffers and another 125 part-time staffers.

Operations at the other Ys will remain unchanged.