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Sault city council approves $505K to help save YMCA

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Sault Ste. Marie city council has agreed to contribute $505,000 toward a plan to save the city’s YMCA.

An unnamed charitable foundation agreed to purchase the YMCA building on the condition that the city contribute funds for some much-needed repairs to the building.

However, the decision was not unanimous, with councillors expressing concern about a lack of transparency on the part of the Y.

Among councillors supporting the request for funding was Angela Caputo. However, her support comes with some reluctance because she is frustrated at a lack of answers from YMCA board members at this week’s council meeting.

“From what I’ve seen and heard, no responsibility has been taken by any party from the YMCA, whether that be operations, CEO, board, whoever it might be,” said Caputo.

“We still don’t know, really, what happened.”

Coun. Marchy Bruni, who voted against the funding request, said he would have liked to have heard more about the Y’s financial situation.

“I think they could have brought maybe somebody on the financial side of the Y, which would have been more appropriate, and maybe answer some of the questions that (the board) didn’t have answers for,” said Bruni.

“I know how frustrating it can be,” said YMCA board chair Elise Schofield.

“However, we have to abide and uphold our confidentially standards, our legal standards and our human resources. So, we’re able to release information as we could.”

The motion to support the Y passed 7-3. Bruni said now that the city is contributing funds, he wants greater oversight of the Y’s operations.

“Hopefully, we’ll have maybe a city staff member and also one or two councillors on their board,” he said.

Mayor Matthew Shoemaker made the case that if the YMCA were to close, it would end up costing the city significantly more than $500,000 to make up for the loss of services.

The funding will come from the city’s reserves, which means no additional cost to the taxpayer.

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