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Sault YMCA finds out Monday whether city council will provide financial support

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The fate of Sault Ste. Marie’s YMCA is less than a week away from being decided.

While the Y’s membership drive has fallen short, officials said they are proud of their progress and hope council sees the work they’ve done as enough to form a partnership.

Sault Ste. Marie’s YMCA currently has 1,800 active members, with 160 additional membership pledges.

To prove the Y is sustainable and worth saving by city council, the organization was tasked with reaching 2,400 members by Monday.

Officials said they expect to be at 2,000 by then, but there’s doubt from council that enough was done, even when taking out the membership benchmark.

“It's looking like the window of, you know, people feeling like the crisis was needing to be averted has sort of closed,” said Coun. Angela Caputo.

But Jake D’Agostini of the Sault YMCA said the timing of the membership drive was less than ideal.

“No gym in northern Ontario has ever done a membership drive in June, July and August,” D’Agostini said.

“It's extremely hard because people go to camp and people are doing other things during the summertime. So the memberships that we have gotten in this amount of time has been incredible.”

A delegation from the Sault YMCA will be at council on Monday, with a board member set to present the latest membership figures and all major changes the Y has undertaken since May.

Management said they're confident the city will approve of its sustainability as an organization.

“People are coming and going from the YMCA. It's a lively, active center of community,” said Jared MacSween, the Y’s acting manager.

“I feel that we've done the work to demonstrate (that). The community is also speaking quite loudly, both in terms of showing up for memberships, showing up and making pledges and donations.”

But Caputo said more work needs to be done.

“The business sense here needs to be sharpened, I think, and we need to be able to see that they can hold a business case for themselves before we can put taxpayer dollars forward to back it.”

If deemed sustainable Monday, council will vote to approve more than $500,000 in capital repairs for the facility.

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