By Sean Cann-Sheppard 
Council member Mitch Panciuk said Monday night that the construction of a new YMCA in Belleville would help a vital partner in the community.
“I think the YMCA is a real important partner for us in a whole bunch of ways,” Panciuk said, “not just from people getting physical fitness, but from an education point of view,”
The current location for the YMCA was first built in 1964 at 433 Victoria Avenue. The three story facility has child care facilities, as well as exercise facilities.
Speaking at the council meeting, President and CEO of the local YMCA branch David Allen spoke about the contributions the local YMCA has made to the community, and the hopes that it would have full cooperation with all three levels of government for this project.
Allen, said that over the years the cost of keeping the building in working condition has been adding up.
There have been three major renovations to retrofit the facility, with the biggest in 2009, which costed over a million dollars. He also said retrofiting the building to be more accessible could cost over $800,000.
He said part of the reason for a new facility was to cut down on future expenses of maintaining the old building, particularly the cost of making it accessible.
“The best way to make this building more accessable is to get rid of it,” Allen said.
The new facility Allen proposes would take up around five acres, and be a single floor building instead of three floors. While Allen said no location has been chosen yet for this new facility, the choice would be based on where the community is growing.
He said the estimated cost for this facility could be around 15 to 17 million dollars, which Allen says would be worth the cost in the long run.
“We want to build a facility that will last 50 years,” he said. “We would build it with today’s environment and today’s population in mind,”
“The ultimate goal is to not only serve the people today, but we want to double that number,” he said.