Posted: January 23, 2018


DATE: January 22, 2018

TITLE:  Council Approves YMCA Proposal to Operate The Centre

Petrolia, ON – After an extensive community consultation process, including 10 individual stakeholder sessions, the Council of the Town of Petrolia has approved the YMCA’s proposal to assume contracted operation of the Oil Heritage District Community Centre (“The Centre”).  The YMCA’s Board of Directors will consider ratification of the agreement at their meeting on January 23, 2018 and with approval, the new agreement will be effective April 2, 2018.

The YMCA’s interest in operating The Centre is aligned with their mission to build healthy communities and consistent with the Town’s strategic priority to grow a Community of Health in Petrolia.

The arrangement is similar to those in place for other municipal services including management of the waste water treatment plant, and artistic direction for the Victoria Playhouse Petrolia.

The agreement ensures that:

  • The Town of Petrolia retains ownership of The Centre, all donor recognition/named features, equipment and assets;
  • The YMCA will engage current Centre staff team with a first opportunity for application for employment;
  • The YMCA will deliver greater operational efficiency to The Centre and reduce the Town’s annual investment, including an estimated total savings of $517,538 over a five-year period;
  • The YMCA will offer an all-inclusive membership experience and ensure that non-member and public access is maintained.
  • The YMCA will implement its Assisted Membership program, providing subsidized access to membership and programs for individuals and families in financial need.

Petrolia residents and participants across the region will have access to The Centre through membership and day use passes. The YMCA’s all-inclusive membership model offers all programs and services included in one standard price, including their popular swimming lessons, individual wellness coaching, and group fitness classes.

“Health and wellness of our community are paramount.  The YMCA has a mission to build healthy communities, and we look forward with anticipation to what they can do in Petrolia.” said Mayor John McCharles.

“The Centre is key to one of our strategic priorities, working to develop a Community of Health in Petrolia.” said McCharles.

“Members will not experience any interruption to services at The Centre, the team at the YMCA prepares to assume contracted operation on April 2, 2018.” he added.

Under the agreement, Boomers Plus will remain at The Centre, and the Lambton Central Petrolia Optimist Club’s agreement regarding meeting space will continue.

Further, the YMCA will report to the Town monthly regarding financials, offer a quarterly operational report and an annual operating review, and submit a proposed annual operating budget and capital budget.

The YMCAs across Southwestern Ontario has 100 years of experience in community health, fitness, recreation and membership services, and currently serves more than 21,000 participants at 49 locations in the region, including 1 in 5 participants who access the YMCA’s financial assistance program.

More information on the project, including the opportunity to sign up for membership updates, is available at: activepetrolia.ca.


For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:


John McCharles                                                                      Kathi Lomas McGee

Mayor                                                                                     Interim President and CEO
519-882-2350                                                                          519-955-3432

jmccharles@petrolia.ca                                                         klomasmcgee@ymcaswo.ca



Building healthy communities |

About the YMCAs across Southwestern Ontario The YMCA is a recognized leader in building healthy communities and is focused on building health, ensuring belonging, and helping everyone we serve achieve their full potential – at any age or stage. The YMCAs across Southwestern Ontario currently serve more than 21,000 participants at 49 locations in the region, throughout Sarnia-Lambton, Chatham-Kent, Goderich-Huron, North Middlesex, Lambton Shores, and Central Huron.

The YMCA is open to all, regardless of financial ability. The YMCA’s goal is to serve as many community members as possible and provides subsidy when needed to ensure this goal. As a charity, the YMCA provided financial assistance to 1 in 5 members and participants in 2016, equaling more than $479,000 in financial assistance.

With the YMCA’s all-in-one membership, members receive all programs and services in one place for one price. That means more value for hard earned dollars, including:

Swimming lessons

  • Recreation programs for all ages, both registered and drop-in
  • Preschool and youth programming
  • Fitness centre access
  • Group fitness classes
  • Pool access
  • Fitness program design and wellness coaching
  • Open gym time
  • Additional discounts for camp and other special programs


For a full breakdown of all project FAQs, please visit www.activepetrolia.ca.  

General Background

  • The YMCA reached out to the Town of Petrolia in January of 2017 to enquire if there was any interest in reviewing a potential relationship. This would mark the third time that the Town of Petrolia and the YMCA have met since 2005 to discuss potential Operating Proposals.
  • The YMCA utilizes a financial assistance membership program to help individuals and families who have the greatest need in our community. Financial aid is available to those who are unable to pay full regular fees.  It is estimated that approximately 11% of The Centre’s members will require assistance.

By the Numbers

  • Over five years, the cumulative, conservative, municipal savings is projected to be: 2018: -$44,716 (est. $180,000 in transition costs with a $50,000 contingency and $40,000 allocated to potential expenses related to off-set funding to mitigate loss of revenue at the YMCA Jerry McCaw Family Centre in 2018 only); 2019: $133,710; 2020: $138,181; 2021: $142,798; 2022: $147,565.  This represents a total savings over 5 years of $517,538.
  • Conservative membership projections: growth of 15% in 2018 (largely due to the projection of members moving from the YMCA Jerry McCaw Family Centre in Sarnia to Petrolia), and 3% each year for the following four years, taking the total from 653 in 2016 to an estimated 870 in 2022.
  • The proposal is for a five-year term with the option for extension if both parties agree, or with the option for either party to end the relationship based on the agreed upon terms.
  • The Town of Petrolia five-year capital plan (2018-2022, estimated $380,000) is the same regardless of whether the YMCA or the Town of Petrolia operate The Centre.
  • The YMCA has better economies of scale to help guide the success of The Centre through the YMCA national procurement program.

Proposal Highlights

  • The YMCA operates several municipal facilities through the YMCA Rural Community Health & Wellness partnership model and is part of an international association.
  • The YMCA offers recognized expertise, staff training and development, and staff career advancement opportunities.
  • The YMCA proposal includes several opportunities for volunteerism, however, the operating budgets do not reflect any savings from wages of regular staff for the use of volunteers. Volunteers add to the YMCA, they do not take the place of potential employment opportunities.
  • The YMCA proposal included recommended hours for The Centre, which are similar to the current schedule, but reflect shorter summer hours—when people spend more time outside, and closures on holidays. These hours were derived from the YMCA’s experience in other municipalities, but are flexible should need arise, or should there be evidence to support changes.
  • The YMCA proposal includes the intent to report to the Town of Petrolia monthly regarding financials, offer a quarterly operational report, and an annual operating review. The YMCA would provide the Town of Petrolia with a proposed annual operating budget, a capital budget, and supporting operational plan for The Centre in November of each year.
  • Boomers Plus would remain at The Centre, and the Lambton Central Petrolia Optimist Club’s agreement regarding meeting space will continue.
  • There were more than 10 consultancy meetings held in Petrolia throughout the Discovery Phase, with the final meeting in the series being held on January 15, 2018 where the proposal was made available and presented in a Public Open House and Special Meeting of Council.