Closing of Langara YMCA will leave parents at a loss

Building due for renovations in early 2021


Reported by Joe Ayres 

Local families will be forced to find alternative programming when the Langara YMCA closes for renovations in early 2021.

Susan McVea is a parent who uses the Langara YMCA for her children’s swimming lessons. McVea prefers the Langara YMCA over the community centre closer to her home because of the consistency the location offers.

“One of the reasons why we’re here instead of the community centre which is closer to where we live is just because we show up on the same day, same time, it doesn’t matter who the instructor is, what level they’re in, it’s continuous,” McVea said.

The YMCA is trying to find spaces to run its programs off-property during the renovations, but it won’t know which programs will be available until 2020 as it waits to see what rental spaces will be available.

Community needs

Kelly Walker, acting vice-president of marketing and communications for the YMCA of Greater Vancouver said the building needs to close to continue to provide the community with programs and services.

“We will still be able to meet their needs but we do need to temporarily close in order to actually have a building to house those programs in for the long term,” Walker said.

The location, which serves 12,000 people per year, will re-open in 2023 with a 50 per cent expansion. This expansion will have a variety of new facilities including three pools, a cafe with outdoor seating, childcare services for infants to school-aged children and a rooftop social area.

Tanya Broesch, a psychologist specializing in child development and parenting practices, said for many parents the experience of child raising can be isolating. Community centres serve as a practical solution to this issue as it allows parents to work and socialize.

“In large cities, community centres serve the function of social support and connection,” Broesch said.

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