$16.7 mil to Brantford YMCA


On Friday Sept. 7, members of the community gathered at the East Wing of the Research and Academic Centre anxiously awaiting the announcement of $16.7 million in federal funding for the Laurier Brantford YMCA Athletics and Recreation Complex.

Invitations were sent out to members of the community earlier in the week for a special announcement from Haldimand-Norflolk MP and Diane Finley, minister of human resources and skills development, as well as Brant MP Phil McColeman.

Minister Diane Finley could not emphasize enough that such an opportunity does not come along often.

“The government realizes how important having projects like this are for a community,” she stated.

Finley concluded her announcement by acknowledging the efforts of the entire community.

“Great minds, great community; coming together to work together,” she said.

Although all levels of government have now secured funding, Brantford Mayor Chris Friel urged the community and supporters “to come together and make it a reality.”

Community and student financial support will still be required. Another $18 million still needs to be raised. A student referendum will decide on an added fee to tuition.

Dr. Max Blouw, president and vice-chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University, was passionate about this significant investment for the school.

“It is great to see that the federal and provincial government could come together and make this grant happen for this location,” said Blouw.

“The patience and time that this development took will make the community stronger and be well worth the wait,” stated Jim Commerford, CEO of the YMCA.

Commerford continued to discuss some statistics and how the YMCA will be able to further help and develop the community.

“There are high levels of obesity and with obesity, the healthcare costs increase. When healthy living is promoted, and more enforced, the chances in reducing healthcare costs are increased.”

Over the next three to four years there should be major development in the downtown core.

This development is planned to make a huge difference, even though some people are still adjusting to the land that now stands vacant where many buildings once stood on Colbourne Street.

The Laurier-YMCA athletics complex is one of ten architectural projects selected among hundreds of projects from across the world.         The 130,000 square-foot facility will include a pool, multiple gymnasiums, a fitness centre and health and wellness promotions.

The athletics complex will be open to the local Brantford community and will accommodate the rising student population of Laurier Brantford.

The complex will also be fully accessible to people of all abilities.

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