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'Best available site': YMCA picks new Barrie home near Sadlon Arena

'We are anticipating a location in the area of the north parking lot,' says YMCA official
Sadlon Arena, located on Bayview Drive in south-end Barrie, is shown in a file photo.

The YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka’s new Barrie facilities could skate close to Sadlon Arena in the city's south end. 

“The selected site at 555 Bayview Dr. is next to the Sadlon Arena,” said Jill Tettmann, CEO of the YMCA of Simcoe Muskoka. “We are anticipating a location in the area of the north parking lot."

She said developing a new site plan and the land lease negotiated for the city-owned land, including size and exact location, are the next steps.

Wednesday's announcement follows 10 months of extensive site assessments and more than 10 potential locations to seek out the best available location, according to Y officials. 

“This process was about finding the best available site to serve our members and community, to meet the needs of our partners, and to best steward the generous contributions of our donors and government partners – because our community of supporters is what allows the YMCA to bring exciting capital projects like this to life," Tettmann said.

This modern community centre will feature "best-in-class" health and fitness facilities and programs, an aquatic centre, youth outreach programs and transitional housing, community meeting spaces, rehabilitation programs and an indoor playground.

“The YMCA and the City of Barrie share the common goal: to ensure Barrie is a safe and welcoming city with ample opportunities of success for all the citizens of Barrie,” said Mayor Alex Nuttall.

This land deal for 555 Bayview has been in the works for about six months.

Last January, city council gave final approval to declare surplus three acres of its 10-acre parcel at Mapleview and Bayview drives and to negotiate a land lease with the local branch of the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka. 

In July 2022, the YMCA abandoned its plans for the two-acre H-Block property, located beside the Barrie Public Library's downtown branch, and looked instead for a minimum of three acres.

The Y’s original plan was to spend $45 million on a 77,000-square-foot community hub at the H-Block, at 50 Worsley St., although realistically the price tag was expected to be close to $60 million.

Instead, the bill was going to be approximately $79 million, which included $12 million for underground parking, plus project management, furnishings, equipment and legal fees, Tettmann said. A three-acre site — which was being investigated at Bayview and Mapleview drives — also allows parking to be above-ground, cutting costs by $12 million.

At the time, the city said it could not reveal the exact location at Bayview and Mapleview, as it was subject of a confidential staff report and to confidential negotiations.

In early summer 2021, the province announced $29.9-million in funding for the local Y. Prior to the pandemic, in the fall of 2019, the Y launched its ‘100 Reasons Y’ fundraising campaign. There was also to be funding from the County of Simcoe.

Proceeds from selling the Y’s former Grove Street property — $4.5 million — were to go toward the new downtown facility. The Y announced in August 2020 that it was not financially viable to reopen the Grove Street facility, given its age and the pandemic’s impact on the Y.

It is now planned for a future highrise, residential development.


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Bob Bruton

About the Author: Bob Bruton

Bob Bruton is a full-time BarrieToday reporter who covers politics and city hall.
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