Vicktoria Gray / The Tribune
After almost a year of meetings with the YMCA of Niagara, Port Colborne city council has signed the dotted line.
Politicians Monday night approved a plan to enter into a 20-year renewable agreement with the YMCA to permit the organization to manage the “warm side” of the Vale Health and Wellness Centre.
The warm side refers to the centre’s two pools, a double gym, exercise facility, eight outdoor bocce courts and a walking/jogging track for all-season use.
“This is not new for the YMCA. They have already been in Port Colborne for years taking advantage of our parks and camps, but it gives them the opportunity to enhance programs they had in our parks at the facility while continuing with what they have in the parks,” Mayor Vance Badawey said in an interview Tuesday afternoon.
The city will run the cold side of the facility, which includes two NHL-sized ice rinks.
The YMCA plans to offer 240 programs for people of all ages and income levels.
Currently the city only runs 10 to 12 programs at Centennial Pool at a cost of $300,000 a year.
The pool money will instead go toward subsidizing the YMCA’s programs.
“(The Vale Health and Wellness Centre) offers a lot more, a second pool that’s more therapeutic for seniors with arthritis, which we currently can’t offer because the water is too cold. We offer more, so there’s more intake to the facility and that will bring down the subsidy based on usage,” Badawey said.
The wellness centre is to open in November.
Terry Suess, a volunteer board member for the YMCA who lives in Port Colborne, said he is pleased about a finalized agreement with the city.
“(The) long-term agreement (will) ultimately position the YMCA to strengthen the health and wellness of Port Colborne individuals and families,” he said.