YARMOUTH - Steering committee members for a proposed $30-million expansion at the Mariners Centre want to keep the ball rolling. A presentation on the project was made on Jan. 10 to Yarmouth municipal council.
The project would include a new YMCA with a 25-metre pool and therapeutic pool, a public walking track and a multi-purpose space to include a curling rink.
Both the YMCA and curling rink are presently challenged with outdated facilities.
Melanie Mooney, a member of the steering committee and chair of the YMCA volunteer board of directors, spoke to council about the potential benefits of the proposed expansion.
“It has the potential to double the membership of the Y,” she said.
“It certainly will generate social and economic growth in the area and has the ability to address recreational shortfalls in the tri-counties, including a full-size pool.”
Her presentation included a number of statistics. In southwest Nova Scotia about 45 per cent of the population is moderately active compared to 54 per cent in Nova Scotia, she said, while 71 per cent of this region’s population is overweight or obese, compared to 62 per cent in Nova Scotia.
“Having a facility like this would certainly help contribute to a healthy population,” she said.
She said it’s important to keep the project moving forward.
“You may be thinking, well, we’ve got other priorities. We don’t believe this can wait. There’s a lot of momentum right now, with our needs assessment and feasibility study. We don’t want those to become outdated or not relevant. We have some old infrastructure, including the YMCA that is going to need some investment,” she said. “We cannot move forward without your support, the Municipality of Argyle and the Town of Yarmouth. Currently we don’t have support from all three,” she said.
The Town of Yarmouth has the development of an arts and culture centre on Collins Street as a top priority.
Mooney’s presentation was received with approval from the councillors present (councillors Daniel Allen, Patti Durkee and Warden Anthony were absent).
“The Mariners Centre is a good thing and what you’ve presented to us, we need that,” said Councillor Gerard LeBlanc.
“It’s important for us to have this project go forward, there are compelling reasons. There’s widespread public support for this,” added Coun. Trevor Cunningham.
Coun. Loren Cushing said he had not seen any presentations regarding the airport or the ferry terminal, items that are higher on the regional priority list for municipal units in the county.
“You folks are the only ones I see action from. It’s a very good cause and it will certainly enhance all of Yarmouth County and beyond. It’s a win-win situation,” he said.
Deputy Warden John Cunningham said there wasn’t one day in the past year when someone didn’t express support to him for the expansion of the Mariners Centre.
--Expansion project started in 2014 when Mariners Centre management began discussions with representatives from the YMCA and curling club.
--In May of 2016 public consultations began. A survey was distributed as part of the needs assessment, which was completed in 2015.
--In January 2016 a presentation was made during a town council meeting on the proposed expansion and the project was made a number 3 priority after the Yarmouth airport and ferry terminal.
--In December 2016 the final feasibility report (funded by three municipal units and the province) was issued.
--In January 2017 the feasibility study was presented to the three municipal councils.
--In July 2017, a national YMCA representative facilitated a project meeting. Attendees included Town of Yarmouth representatives along with provincial and federal government members. The discussion was of moving forward and developing a fundraising plan.