‘A very difficult decision’: YMCA of Regina’s CEO speaks about closures

YMCA of Regina’s CEO is still absorbing the decision they made on Monday evening to permanently close the health, fitness and aquatics facilities at their Downtown and East locations.

Impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in YMCA of Regina’s total membership falling to 53 per cent from previous levels due to cancellations, on top of the increased operational expense.

CEO Steve Compton said it unfortunately means there will be several job reductions that will affect both full time and part time staff.

“The layoffs are 22 individuals that are affected by this permanently,” mentioned Compton. “They came from not just our Downtown and East facilities, but across the association, depending on their roles.”

A release from YMCA of Regina on Monday stated they are ensuring affected staff members have a smooth transition through internal and external support platforms and resources.

During an interview with Compton on Tuesday morning, he said he can’t stress how difficult of a decision it was to make.

“The emotional elements and the history of this place is something we hope people will share with us as we try to carry some of it over to our Northwest facility,” he explained.

The Northwest location’s facility, programs and amenities are not affected by the operational changes and all current childcare programs at all locations – including the downtown centre – will continue as normal. Compton has faith that their Northwest centre will be able to endure the pandemic.

When asked if the impacted facilities could come back sometime in the future, he admitted they don’t know if there’s an option that would allow them to make a different decision at this time.

“You sometimes say ‘never say never’, but we do believe these closures will be permanent,” said Compton. “We will look to opportunities and different models throughout the city in the years to come when the pandemic settles. But at this time, we do feel they will be permanent.”

The last day for the East location is end of day Friday, November 20, while the Downtown’s fitness and aquatics amenities will shut down on Monday, November 23.


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