Members of the YMCA location on Progress Avenue in Kingston’s west end will soon be going elsewhere to participate in services and programming offered by the YMCA locally.
The YMCA West location will be closing its doors with its last day of operation taking place on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019.
“The YMCA location on Progress Avenue has been losing membership year over year for the past couple of years,” said Colleen Gareau, director of marketing and communications for YMCA Eastern Ontario.
“It also requires about $1 million in renovations, so it just didn’t seem to be financially sustainable, and, as a charity, obviously we need to be very fiscally responsible,” Gareau said of the YMCA West location.
Because of those two factors, YMCA Eastern Ontario (which is made up of the recently amalgamated YMCA Kingston and Brockville locations) decided to sell the Progress Avenue location, and has already done so. The local organization is hoping that the closure brings them one step closer to building a new centrally-located YMCA facility, Gareau said – While those with YMCA here in Kingston are looking forward to their new location at Providence Village, they realize that development is still a few years away.
“So in the meantime, what we are doing to entice and invite members from the Progress Avenue location over to the Wright Crescent location or the Y facility at St. Lawrence College is we’re offering a 50 per cent member discount from August to the end of the year,” Gareau said, explaining that those members at the YMCA West location will be eligible for half-price memberships at other locations for the remainder of the year following the closure.
Gareau said they are working to bring all full time staff at the YMCA West location over to the Wright Crescent location, as well as the part time staff such as fitness instructors and life guards.
“So we are hoping that the members at Y West will be looking forward to continuing working with their favourite instructors and will come here, too!” she said, noting that they are hoping to avoid cutting any employment.
“So we’re hoping that the worst case scenario would be maybe a cut in some hours, but we’re not expecting to see job loss.”
Gareau pointed to the recent amalgamation as a way the local YMCA has been able to expand its services to areas that weren’t being served beforehand.
“We’ve already started offering child care and summer programs in Gananoque, we are in talks with another municipality, and about to, we hope, announce something very soon,” she said. “So we’re hoping to spread our programs and services to areas that didn’t have any before, but we’re also really looking forward to the future here in Kingston and building a new centrally-located Y.”
And while losing the Progress Avenue location might not be optimal for everyone in Kingston, Gareau said they are hoping the other two YMCA locations locally will be able to continue serving those who currently use the West location.
“We know that our Y West members are going to be disappointed and we hope that they’ll continue to be part of the Y family at the other two locations,” she said.
For more information on the YMCA of Kingston, click here.