Q: Where did the idea for a community centre in the North End originate?
A: More than a decade ago, a group of north-end citizens approached the city for a community centre in that area citing a lack of recreational and community services. Within a few years, Moncton City Council added capital funding for such a project. Knowing the costs would be greater for the project to see the light of day, the YMCA and the City established funding partnerships with provincial and federal governments.
Q: How did the YMCA of Greater Moncton get involved with the North End project?
A: In 2014, the City of Moncton invited the YMCA to discuss partnering on construction of a centre. YMCAs across Canada frequently partner with municipalities on such projects after being invited to do so because of the quality and delivery of Y programs. YMCAs are known for taking a community’s vision and figuring out how best to make it sustainable in the long-term.
Q: What has been the timeline since then?
A: Fall 2015: Corporate Research Associates – on behalf of the Y – carried out a Feasibility Study that included telephone and online surveys with north-end residents to determine what recreational services and community services they valued most.
March 2016: The results of the Feasibility Study were presented to Moncton City Council. It came through loud and clear with the Feasibility Study that there was a need and a demand for a YMCA community centre. The study found that residents would like the centre to offer fitness classes, recreational sports programs, an indoor splash pad and playground, literacy programs, seniors programs and wellness programs. Council asked city staff to report back that summer or fall with information as to what a partnership between the Y and the City would look like (ownership and operating arrangements) and what would be included in a possible centre in the north end. Planning evolved to include the Y, the city and the north-end residents’ committee working together to jointly recommend the best model legally, financially and operationally.
December 2017: Moncton City Council unanimously approved proceeding with the north-end project, working together with the YMCA to facilitate the design and construction of the community centre. The partnership agreement followed feasibility studies, conceptual planning and a detailed functional program review to establish a clear understanding of activities that could be accommodated at the centre.
March 2019: A public hearing regarding the rezoning of the land where the centre will be built was held. No objections were received. Moncton City Council unanimously approved the rezoning. The centre will be located at 70 Twin Oaks Drive, Moncton.
Q: So how will the centre work? Will the city run it?
A: The YMCA will own and operate the facility. For almost 150 years, the YMCA of Greater Moncton—a registered charity—has provided children and adults with a variety of programs and services dedicated to personal growth and has spearheaded many community initiatives.
As part of their capital funding commitment and the partnership agreement, the City of Moncton remains involved in the project at all stages. Certain elements of the centre will be available to all residents.
Q. Will all residents require a YMCA membership to participate in the community centre?
A: The YMCA is for everyone. We help people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities lead healthier, more active, more connected lives, regardless of their financial situation. The community centre will not only be accessible to YMCA members but the community at large. All residents will be able to access features free of charge such as the indoor walking track, community rooms and public gathering spaces. The Y will have a number of membership options available as well as convenient drop-in options.
Q: How do you know there is enough support for a community centre in the North End?
A: The results of the 2015 Feasibility Study (mentioned above) showed strong support from the community for a YMCA in Moncton’s North End. The City of Moncton is keen to see the project come to fruition.
Q: How big will the centre be? What features will the new facility include?
A: The new facility will be a compliment to the services provided at the main YMCA facility. Overall, the new facility will be about 35,000 square feet, about half the size of the downtown Y. The centre will include various components. Plans include a gym, an indoor splash pad, an indoor walking track, a wellness centre, a studio gym, multi-purpose spaces, a playground and a universal change room. The facility will be designed with expansion in mind as future projects like a library are an option.
Q: What services will be at the new facility?
A: The new facility will offer member programs like fitness classes, sports, personal training, youth activities, and more. YMCA member access cards will be good at both Moncton locations. Licensed afterschool programs will also be included. As well, the public will have scheduled access to the indoor splash pad and play park, walking track, and multi-purpose spaces.
Q: What about a pool?
The new facility will complement the services provided at the main YMCA facility. Members of the North End facility will have access to the pools at the downtown Y.
Q: When will it be built?
A: Our goal is to have it built by the end of 2020, the year the YMCA of Greater Moncton celebrates its 150th birthday. We hope to break ground next spring (2019).
Q: Where will the centre be built?
A: The City of Moncton will extend the south side of Twin Oaks to Ryan Road. The centre will be built on vacant land off the road extension.
Q: Who will build the centre?
A: The YMCA of Greater Moncton announced earlier this year that after a comprehensive review in conjunction with the City of Moncton, Acadian Construction of Dieppe had been named to build the YMCA community centre in the North End.
Q: What will happen to the current YMCA on War Veterans Avenue, built in 2004?
A: The downtown YMCA will continue to operate as usual. The North End facility will complement the services provided at the main Y. YMCA member access cards will be good at both Moncton locations.
Q: How much will the centre cost? Where is the money coming from?
A: This is a $17-million project in total. The federal and provincial governments will contribute $4 million each and the City of Moncton will contribute $6 million ($4 million towards the facility; $2 million for development of the Twin Oaks extension). The YMCA will undertake a $3-million capital campaign towards the project.
Q: What comes next?
A: Construction crews began ground preparation for the new YMCA in Moncton’s North End in the spring of 2019. Acadian Construction Ltd. is construction manager for the centre, which will be developed on land along a yet-to-be-built extension of Twin Oaks Drive, between École Le Sommet and Evergreen Park School. Construction crews will access the site via Fisher Street.