Will NDG's YMCA ever re-open? Longtime members demand answers
MONTREAL -- The song may claim that there's a place you can go when you're short on the dough, but NDG residents are wondering why their YMCA is still closed while others have re-opened.
The facility on Hampton, which houses a seniors' centre, daycare, teen zone and sports facilities has been closed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Y has offered virtual classes to help the community stay active at home, longtime members have been left perplexed.
“We have heard that it's been sold or it's being sold,” said member Joan Simand. “We're concerned that the people of NDG and the Y members know nothing about this.”
In early summer, members received a survey asking how many would return when gyms were allowed to re-open. Roughly 60 per cent of members took part and only 17 per cent said they were ready to come back, leading to a decision by YMCA Quebec to keep it closed.
“They've refused to meet with us or send us anything but a sham survey and that's what is getting us mad,” said member Linda Solomon.
While memberships are honoured at other locations, longtime members have started a petition to have the NDG site re-opened. In three days, 600 names have been collected.
“The Y's philosophy is that everybody has a right to community services and the gym and that's one that I have really embraced over my whole lifetime,” said Richard Hovey, who has been a member for 40 years. “The fact that we have such a diverse group of people coming in just enriches NDG. You meet people you otherwise would never meet.”
In a statement, the YMCA of Quebec said their organization's presence in NDG “is there to stay.”
“Despite the temporary closure of our fitness facilities during the pandemic, we intend to continue offering safe, welcoming places for the community and programs to help participants become their best self through physical activity and other programs.”