It was billed as the last time YMCA officials would be at city hall to offer an update on the newly expanded Chilliwack YMCA.
“I’m pleased to confirm with you all — and I hope you’ll all be in attendance — that the new Y will be opening on Family Day,” said Stephen Butz, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Vancouver.
Butz was joined by Karen Price, general manager of the Chilliwack Y, who presented a slide show highlighting some of the Y’s brand-new features.
“The entrance has lots of glass and lots of open space,” Price said, adding the idea was to make it “inviting for social connections.”
Inside the cozy gathering space for members will be “set up like your living room,” she said, and will become the “heart of the Y.”
The issue of safety and security for Y members came up.
“Lockers may seem a strange thing to focus on,” Price added, but safety has always been an issue. “We have them in places that are accessible to the public, and in full sight, as well as cameras.”
They have an elementary-size gym, with four hoops, and sound baffling where they will be offering physical literacy programs to youth for “generations to come.”
The strength and conditioning room has equipment that is so new, Price said she isn’t familiar yet on how to use it. They will be offering orientation sessions for members and tours hosted by volunteers once they open.
The pool “looks like a brand-new pool” and not just a renovated one.
“We redid absolutely everything other than the hole in the ground,” Price said. “So we will be opening the pool sometime the beginning of April.”
The focus is serving the youth of the committee, and “making sure everyone can swim,” she said.
The soft opening will be on Feb. 18, also B.C. Family Day, and Butz said he couldn’t think of a more appropriate date to open their doors. The formal grand opening is slated for Friday, April 12. A house post dedication to acknowledge local Indigenous heritage is being planned prior to the grand opening.
“A well placed line comes to mind at these points in projects of significance. The line goes, ‘It’s amazing what can be accomplished when nobody wants the credit.’
“The community gave generously to this project,” said Butz. “Under the leadership of Wayne McAlpine, and his campaign cabinet, they exceeded their $3 million campaign goal.”
The province pitched in $2 million, while City of Chilliwack chipped in $1 million in capital funding to the project, in a partnering agreement that included a 30-year tax exemption.
“Our members have been waiting patiently with enduring delays, and the unfortunate flood, from time to time,” Butz said.
Construction issues, and a burst pipe in mid-December which caused flooding in the basement, delayed the opening date from fall 2018 to winter/spring 2019.
Butz thanked City of Chilliwack, council and staff, for being partners with the Y on the expansion project from the outset.
“We couldn’t have done this without you, and we wanted to come and tell you that,” Butz told council.
Mayor Popove was presented with a framed photo of the new facility, which he said he would hang in his office with pride.