Fort Erie YMCA set to close

The YMCA of Niagara has announced it will be closing the EJ Freeland YMCA facility this fall.

The organization says it is not sustainable to provide programs and services in the aging facility.

“Over the last decade, the YMCA has invested more than $3 million to cover annual net operating losses associated with running the facility. The building now requires more than $6 million in capital investments in the next 10 years,” said the community-focused organization in a news release.

Another $2.3 million would be needed in the next three years to maintain operations. The YMCA will cease building operations with plans to move programs and services into a new community-based model.

The statement says all YMCA team members based at the EJ Freeland YMCA will be offered employment at other branches or in a YMCA community-based program in Fort Erie.

Programs running out of the building will continue as planned throughout the summer including all YMCA summer day camps. Residents with memberships will be able to transfer to another YMCA of Niagara location.

“The YMCA is committed to being part of the Fort Erie community now and in the future,” said Dr. Ian Brown, Chair, YMCA Board of Directors. “The locations and space we use to deliver YMCA programs may change but the experience our members have is connected to the people who work, volunteer and participate at the YMCA.”

The organization says it will begin the consultation process in May.

Members of the community interested in participating will have the option to complete an online survey or participation in focus group sessions.

The focus groups are scheduled to be held at all Fort Erie Public libraries throughout May.