YMCA of Southwestern Ontario announces permanent closure of Windsor branch at Central Park Athletics



YMCA of Southwestern Ontario announces permanent closure of Windsor branch at Central Park Athletics.

The YMCA of Southwestern Ontario announced today that it will permanently close its health, fitness, and aquatics branch at Central Park Athletics, effective immediately.

The location, which opened in 2016, has experienced significant membership losses during the pandemic, down significantly from a one-time high of 3200+ members and nearly 1000 more served in day camp and drop-in programs.

CEO Andrew Lockie called the decision a "heartbreaking" one. 

"The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on many businesses and organizations and our YMCA is not immune to this. While we have done everything we can do to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic on this branch, the temporary closure has resulted in declining membership and ultimately, an unsustainable operating model. This decline occurred despite not collecting membership fees during the closure and we anticipate this trend would continue if we were to resume operations."

The branch has consistently received some of the highest member satisfaction and quality scores of all YMCAs in the country, which, says Lockie, just makes this decision all the more difficult. 

"Our goal was always to grow membership to serve many more individuals and families in Windsor and ensure the branch was financially viable, however, COVID-19 has created circumstances that are largely beyond our control - not just in the health and fitness world, but for so many individuals, families, and businesses."

The YMCA remains committed to the Windsor community, and will continue to operate extensively in Windsor-Essex. Other program areas, including children's educational services, settlement services, and other community programs, will continue to serve nearly 7000 people each year.

"We know this is difficult news, and I cannot underscore how much we appreciate our members, participants, and volunteers. Please know we will do everything we can to support our staff during this challenging time."

The Windsor branch will remain closed permanently and memberships will be cancelled effective immediately, with no additional action required by current members.