Sheehan to meet with YMCA officials today

Sault MP Terry Sheehan has a scheduled meeting with officials of the Sault Ste. Marie YMCA today.

Sheehan the nature of the sit down is exploratory in nature.

“I along with many Saultites were surprised by the announcement. I share the concern of many Saultites and area residents. I have questions just like many people in the community.”

The local “Y” is beset with operational budget issues and capital costs. The property is currently up for sale with a price tag of $3 million, roughly the same amount as its combination of debt and identified, necessary upgrades, which include new boilers and a new roof.

“When I saw the announcement in the media, I, too, had questions. So many people, including myself, have used the “Y.” I’m pleased they’ve agreed to meet with me. I need to have that meeting to find out what is happening, and get a clear picture of where they’re at.”

Sheehan says he wants to know what has happened, what’s happening now and if there are any plans for the future. Another shuttered building in the city, Sheehan agreed, would not be good.

“I’ve seen those empty buildings and I think they remained empty for too long,” he said.

Asked if the May 15 closing of the “Y” closing is a fait accompli, Sheehan said he couldn’t say for sure.

“”There’s always a way,” said Sheehan. “I find that this community over the years, has been innovative, creative and resilient. Federal governments don’t directly fund YMCAs per se, but there’s creativity. We fund through (the province) and they prioritize. And a former councillor, there are different levers people have, and opportunities. So I’m also going to be speaking about this, not just with the YMCA but with the Mayor. I don’t want to be presumptive, before I have that meeting but I’m just saying that I’m willing to meet, to learn and to see if there’s anything I can do to help with this particular situation, now or in the future.”

Sault YMCA Interim Chief Executive Officer John Haddock has said the axe has not yet fallen, leaving room for 11th-hour developments.

A local group launched on Facebook, Save Our YMCA, has seen its membership climb to 3,200 as of late Wednesday night. The group remains optimistic resources can be tapped to keep the YMCA’s doors open. 

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