The NDG YMCA drew more than 200 people to consultations held at the end of September. More than 110 members and employees were present for the Sept. 24 session, and 95 residents came to the Sept. 26 public consultation. There were 40 speakers on the first night and 30 on the second night, according to Nicole Mousseau, strategic communications director at Morin Public Relations.
To renew its aging facilities, the NDG YMCA is hoping for a large project worth $10-20 million, but still has to come up with a budget. The sports and communityYMCA in Cartierville was built three years ago with a $20M budget and the help of several partners.
“The consultation was a great success. Many electoral candidates responded to our invitation,” said Daniel Tierney, director of development for the YMCAs of Quebec.
“Our goal was to inform them of our potential, and to see if they would be open to the propositions and ready to dialogue with the YMCA. The city is a potential partner, so we’re really, really happy they came,” he said.
The consultation was a call to the community for support and involvement. All possibilities are on the table for discussion.
“The status quo is not an option for the NDG YMCA, but we want to continue to serve the community as we have for the past 72 years,” said Tierney. In NDG, it must be determined whether the Y will be rebuilt on the current site or elsewhere in NDG.
People left their proposals, suggestions and comments about the YMCA’s programmes and activities, its target clients and services, as well as its community partnerships and future facilities.
All suggestions were carefully noted and a report will be published and posted on the YMCA’s website in a few weeks.
There are no guarantees that the project will go ahead. “If the residents on Hampton and Royal don’t want to hear noisy construction around here, the Y can’t do anything,” said Oksanna, a YMCA employee. “It might have to sell the property and build somewhere else,” she said.
“Something desperately needs to be done. It’s ridiculous the shape you’ve left the tennis courts in,” said a resident. Tennis is a fast-growing sport, he explained, but the nearby facilities are extremely busy, and many can’t afford to play at the local Monkland tennis club.
“We need to make sure that the Y’s activities complement other programs, the way they already do,” said Margaret Ford, who is running for councillor in Loyola. “It’s a really critical phase for NDG. Programs here are not in competition with nearby programs.”
Andrew Ross, a candidate for borough mayor, said that more partnerships need to be developed. At least six schools in NDG need help in terms of physical education and extracurricular activities. He also suggested
community outreach to take instructional and fitness programs directly to people living in residences. He also suggested putting a green roof on the YMCA to reduce heating and cooling costs, so that more programs can be offered in the future.
Michael Simkin, another candidate for CDN-NDG mayor, said that the YMCA would like to continue to offer accessible formative activities for young adults and adults, such as day camps and outdoor experiences outside of the city. He also spoke in favour of preserving the site’s current character, which features ample greenery.
Kevin Copps, running for borough mayor, also supports the construction of a new Y in NDG. He indicated that building the new facility on the current site would be his preference, since it is easily accessible on foot for thousands of people and is close to schools. The current location would also meet criteria on accessibility, development on a human scale, and active transportation while serving a wide variety of people. He wants the borough to participate financially in the project, if possible, and preserve as much greenery as feasible.
Marie Cicchini | email@example.com
Photo : Michael Monnier