Farkas to spearhead effort to save Eau Claire YMCA
CALGARY -- Ward 11 councillor and mayoral hopeful Jeromy Farkas say he will present an urgent notice of motion to council in an attempt to prevent the permanent shuttering of a federated charity-owned recreation facility.
Farkas is calling on council to initiate talks with the YMCA to save the Gray Family Eau Claire location. The YMCA announced the permanent closure of the downtown facility on Feb. 18 citing several factors including financial pressures and economic conditions.
"This most recent closure is a wake-up call and a body blow to business confidence in the core," said Farkas in a statement released Tuesday evening. "After years of tax increases on local businesses, hikes on parking fees, the opening of the drug site and the closure of the downtown police station, Calgarians feel like Council has given up on downtown.
"Council must take a stand and make clear to these residents and businesses that they have not been abandoned. Not here, not now, not on our watch."
YMCA Calgary issued a statement Wednesday morning.
"YMCA Calgary continues to have conversations with our City of Calgary partners after our closure announcement regarding Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA," it read.
"This is in the spirit of continuing dialogue with the city, started before the closure. YMCA Calgary reserves any comment until such time that there is something to report regarding those conversations."
YMCA Calgary has also created an online resource with information for stakeholders.
While YMCA Calgary is the sole owner and operator of the closed recreational facility, Farkas says the city and YMCA have proven successful in operating the Crowfoot Rocky Ridge, Seton, Quarry Park, Shawnessy and Saddletowne locations as partners.
Farkas says he plans to present his proposal for consideration at the March 1 council meeting.
The Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA permanently closed after 30 years of service but the majority of the facility had been closed to the public for months as a result of the province's pandemic-related public health order limiting the operation of fitness and recreation centres.