YMCA centres close in Barrie, Orillia, Parry Sound – CEO cites COVID-19 impact

YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka CEO Rob Armstrong discuses closure of Ys in Barrie, Orillia and Parry Sound

The YMCA’s footprint in the region is about to get smaller, at least for the time being, as the organization announces it is closing centres in Barrie, Orillia, and Parry Sound.
In a release, the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka says that in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it  has been forced to make several difficult decisions related to the reopening of its many  programs and facilities.
“As a charity with limited reserves, we can’t compromise our long-term ability to serve the community by continuing to operate facilities that are no longer viable. As a result, we will not be reopening our health and fitness centres in Barrie, Orillia, and Parry Sound,” CEO Rob Armstrong said in a video statement.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank all our valued members, participants, community partners and donors for their support over the years. These are difficult times and these are difficult decisions, but as we look to the future we remain committed to the health and wellbeing of the communities we serve.”
In Parry Sound, the organization intends to continue to operate as a licensed child care centre, while in Barrie and Orillia day camps as well as licensed child care at the Barrie Y will continue to operate through to the end of the summer. Staff will be  contacting families impacted by the closure of the Barrie Y  to find alternative spaces at other YMCA Child Care  Centres. The Y says it is also making every effort to relocate staff to other locations, and/or to support them in finding new employment opportunities. 
The Barrie YMCA is in the midst of a fundraising drive to build a new facility at the site of the former Barrie Central Collegiate, on the corner of Dunlop and Bradford streets. It says the effort to fundraise and work with all levels of government to open a new centre will continue.
The current centre on Grove Street, between Toronto and Bayfield streets, has already been sold to developers with the intent to build apartments.
“In Barrie, we will continue to work with our donors, partners, and all levels of government to open a new Barrie Y to meet the new and evolving needs of this growing community.”
The YMCA anticipates re-opening its health and fitness facilities in Collingwood, Gravenhurst, Innisfil, Midland and Wasaga Beach in the coming months.