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Council supports deal with YM-YWCA for 3 new facilities

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/5/2015 (1514 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Winnipeg city hall is proceeding with a partnership with the YM-YWCA to fund the construction of three super recreational facilities.

Council instructed the administration Wednesday to finalize a memorandum of understanding with the local Y within 180 days, where the city would give the group $50 million over 10 years for the construction of three new Ys to be built in the city’s suburbs.

Kent Paterson, president and CEO of the Winnipeg Y, said the group wants to build three 75,000 square foot facilities in the city but needs financial assistance from city hall.

Paterson said the city’s contribution would be matched by $50 million raised by the Y but he admitted that no request for funding has been made to either the province or the federal government.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/5/2015 (1514 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Winnipeg city hall is proceeding with a partnership with the YM-YWCA to fund the construction of three super recreational facilities.

Council instructed the administration Wednesday to finalize a memorandum of understanding with the local Y within 180 days, where the city would give the group $50 million over 10 years for the construction of three new Ys to be built in the city’s suburbs.

Kent Paterson, president and CEO of the Winnipeg Y, said the group wants to build three 75,000 square foot facilities in the city but needs financial assistance from city hall.

Paterson said the city’s contribution would be matched by $50 million raised by the Y but he admitted that no request for funding has been made to either the province or the federal government.

Council did give tentative approval to the project in the 2014 budget on condition the province and federal governments participated, and set aside $1.75 million for the Y. But, with no signs of support from the province, the city re-allocated that money earlier this year.

Mayor Brian Bowman told council that even with the agreement, finding the money would still have to be vetted through the budget process.

A search of city records from November 2013 shows no administrative reports assessing the merits of the Y partnership or what impact it would have on existing city recreational facilities or the city’s finances.

But Bowman apparently believes such a report does exist.  He told reporters he supported the project because it had been approved by the previous council and an administrative report recommended it.

"You were covering city hall with the previous administration," Bowman told reporters. "I presume you saw the administrative report at that time."

Bowman added that the agreement with the Y doesn’t bind council to actually go through with the deal.

Mayor Brian Bowman

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Mayor Brian Bowman

"This was an approval by the previous council to have our public service seek a memorandum of understanding," Bowman said. "All we voted on (Wednesday) was simply to provide a timeline to try to get that finished.

"Any commitments of financial support from the City of Winnipeg for any or all of those three projects to proceed will ultimately need to come back to council as part of the budget process."

Paterson told council in December 2013 that the city’s share of the project would not be spent unless the province agrees to participate on an equal basis.

Paterson told council Wednesday that while he has had informal talks with provincial and federal officials, the Y has not made a formal request to either government for financial support for the project.

Coun. Jenny Gerbasi said the city will need the recreational facilities in the suburban areas identified by the Y but said she was worried how quickly city hall is now proceeding with the deal.

Coun. Russ Wyatt wanted council to re-affirm its support for the project. One of the new Y facilities would be built in his ward on Plessis Road, adjacent to the site of a proposed new library.

Paterson said the partnership would ensure the city is providing recreational facilities to its residents without any risk of long-term financial commitment.

Coun. John Orlikow expressed concern over the plan, saying he feared city hall would be "contracting out" its recreation services to the Y without any input on the programming it would offer.

Orlikow also said it appears the city would be subsidizing recreational facilities that would be used by residents from neighbouring RMs, which are not being asked to support the project.

Coun. Brian Mayes said he is supporting the project, adding he believes the terms of the deal will be brought back to council for approval.

Coun. Ross Eadie said he’s also supporting the Y deal, but added that residents of the city’s new suburbs where the Y facilities will be built must understand that the city will not provide them any other recreational facilities.

The exact location for the other two facilities have not been picked, but one will be near Waverley West and the other in the city’s northwest corner.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Aldo Santin

Aldo Santin
Reporter

Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.

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History

Updated on Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at 11:53 AM CDT: Writethru.

12:16 PM: Changed livestream size.

5:24 PM: Writethru

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