|Dear YMCA Member,
In keeping with our commitment to ensure you are informed about future operations at the EJ Freeland YMCA in Fort Erie, we are letting you know that, pending the passing of a by-law to ratify the deal at a public meeting of council, we have finalized an agreement to transfer ownership of the building and the land upon which it is situated to the Town of Fort Erie for the price of $1.
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.
The YMCA of Niagara has expressed a willingness to assist the Boys and Girls Club to realize their new vision for program and service delivery. We have offered to provide some specific YMCA programs at the EJ Freeland Centre, should the Boys and Girls Club be interested in contracting them.
The closing date for this transfer agreement is Friday, February 28, 2020. All parties have worked hard to establish a 60-day transition period to ensure a smooth transfer of operations. YMCA operations will cease at the EJ Freeland location on Friday, February 21, 2020.
Beginning in January 2020, we will gradually reduce operating hours and programs at the EJ Freeland Centre as we begin to wind down operations and work to transfer YMCA staff to other YMCA locations in Niagara.
Current YMCA members wishing to transfer their membership to YMCA locations in Niagara Falls, Welland, Port Colborne, St. Catharines and Grimsby may do so by visiting the new location by Monday, January 20, 2020. The YMCA of Niagara will honor the lower fee rate that current Fort Erie members pay until December 31, 2020 inclusive. No joining fee will be charged at any YMCA location in Niagara.
Members wishing to cancel their membership may do so by emailing [email protected] or by visiting any YMCA location in person. For those on continuous billing; based on your scheduled agreement your final payment will either be December 31, 2019 or January 15, 2020.
The finalization of this transfer agreement follows several months of discussions with the Town of Fort Erie and the Boys and Girls Club.
The YMCA of Niagara announced in March 2019 that 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.
We completed a comprehensive community consultation including:
- The dissemination of more than 400 surveys;
- The facilitation of more than 40 hours of focus groups at locations throughout Fort Erie; and
- A wide range of one-on-one meetings with individuals, partners and stakeholders.
We used input from these consultations to research community priorities and needs. We also tested the viability of alternative “satellite” models for program and service delivery.
Stakeholders resoundingly expressed a strong preference for program delivery to continue at the EJ Freeland location over any satellite program delivery option, with an emphasis on the continuity of aquatic programming.
In a sincere effort to realize this objective, the YMCA of Niagara and the Town of Fort Erie have negotiated the sale of the asset and land for $1. This agreement also includes a wide range of program equipment located at the EJ Freeland facility in an effort to minimize disruptions for the continuity of desired program delivery.
We are working with all of our staff at the EJ Freeland location to identify comparable employment opportunities at other YMCA locations in Niagara.
Despite the change in operations at the EJ Freeland Centre, the YMCA of Niagara remains committed to being part of the community of Fort Erie. We will continue delivering a range of programs across Fort Erie, including Youth Sports Leagues, Youth Action, Day Camp and Licensed Child Care.
The YMCA has been dedicated to building healthy communities in Niagara for 160 years. We appreciate your membership and look forward to the opportunity to continue playing a positive role in your life for years to come.
Should you have any questions about your YMCA membership or how it may be impacted by the upcoming transfer of ownership at the EJ Freeland Centre, please contact us at [email protected]