FORT ERIE, ON (December 19, 2019) The YMCA of Niagara and Town of Fort Erie have finalized an agreement to transfer ownership of the EJ Freeland Community Centre and land from the YMCA of Niagara to the Town. The agreement also includes a wide range of program equipment currently located at the facility. YMCA operations will cease at the EJ Freeland Community Centre on February 21, 2020. The Town of Fort Erie has named the Boys and Girls Club of Niagara to be the future primary tenant and service provider at this location starting April 1, 2020.
“On behalf of Council, I would like to thank the YMCA of Niagara for working with us to ensure a smooth transfer of the facility and equipment. Our residents expressed a strong desire to keep the EJ Freeland Community Centre open and for recreational programming and services to continue. This agreement, and the one with the Boys and Girls Club, gives us the ability to ensure that current and future residents will continue to have access to programs that are critical to their health, recreation and well-being,” said Mayor Wayne Redekop.
In March 2019, the YMCA of Niagara announced it could no longer afford to continue its membership operations at the EJ Freeland location in the face of increasing financial (capital) pressures and the urgent need to make significant investments in the asset and facility. Following the announcement, the YMCA of Niagara completed a comprehensive community consultation. The consultation revealed a desire from the community to continue program delivery at the EJ Freeland location, if possible. In order to help achieve this, the YMCA of Niagara and the Town of Fort Erie negotiated the sale of the land and equipment for $1.
“Our members resoundingly expressed a strong preference for program delivery to continue at the EJ Freeland location over any satellite program delivery option,” said Kyle Barber, President and CEO, YMCA of Niagara. “Working with the Town and the Boys and Girls Club we are able to develop a transition plan that minimizes disruption and allows us to continue meeting the needs of the Fort Erie community.”
The Town of Fort
Erie is partnering with the Boys and Girls Club of Niagara (BGCN) now that the
facility ownership agreement with the YMCA of Niagara is finalized.
During their discussions, the YMCA of Niagara and BCGN have expressed a desire to work together to help minimize the impact this transition may have on the current membership and the community as a whole.
“The Boys and Girls Club is pleased to be working with the Town, the YMCA of Niagara and others to offer programs and services that are affordable, flexible and meet community needs at the EJ Freeland Centre. Plans are in place to ensure fitness, aquatics and recreational programs are available next spring with a view to expand and modify programs and services based on community feedback. Specific program information will be available in the new year,” said Joanne Turner, Executive Director, Boys and Girls Club of Niagara.
The YMCA of Niagara will be working with its Fort Erie YMCA staff to identify comparable employment opportunities in other YMCA of Niagara locations. YMCA members at the EJ Freeland location will be given the option to transfer their membership to one of the other YMCA centres in Niagara Falls, Welland, Port Colborne, St. Catharines or Grimsby.
Updates on the transfer of ownership will be posted at https://ymcaofniagara.org/fort- erie-ymca-info/. For more information about future programming at the EJ Freeland Community Centre, please the Boys and Girls Club at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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