EMAIL UPDATE: Updates from YMCA Simcoe Muskoka and retirement community proposal

Hello Friends of Geneva Park! 

After a long few months of conversations and questions, we're pleased to be able to provide an update on the communication between the YMCA Simcoe Muskoka and the Geneva Park Legacy Alliance. The intent of this update is to get our GP community up to speed on these conversations, so that we are all on a similar page and understand the current conversation and the next steps to be taken. 

As we’re all aware, the YMCA of Simcoe Muskoka (YSM) has chosen Colliers as the realtor to oversee the potential sale of the park. Over the past few months a member of our community – Bob Mee - has been able to maintain ongoing conversations with members of YSM senior management. Through this connection, we think we have a relatively good understanding of where they are in their process with Colliers, and their intentions moving forward. From these conversations, we have no reason to believe they are speaking or acting in bad faith, and that they are inclined to work together with stakeholders to find a solution that benefits everyone.

Here are the key take-aways from those conversations:

  • Colliers has a not-for-profit division that will be advising the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka. They have experience working with other not-for-profits in similar situations
  • Time seems to be less of a concern than it was when this process was initially announced, but still important
  • Currently, Colliers is engaged in an assessment of the property, expected to finish by end of April. An initial site visit went well, and the Colliers team has a better sense of the “magic” of GP
  • At this time, the expectation is that proposals from interested parties will be received in the spring
  • The YSM does want to reach out to other stakeholders of the park to ensure the most inclusive discussion and best solution. This likely would include Ramara township, GPLA, Rama First Nations, Coochiching Conservancy, as well as any other interested parties who might have contacted Simcoe/Muskoka YMCA back in January when a sale was first announced
  • We’re hopeful that a list of stakeholders will be shared with us at some point soon, pending those stakeholders’ permission, so we can potentially work/collaborate with them
  • It is understood that the sale of GP is not meant to directly finance the building of the Barrie Y
  • The National YMCA is no longer involved.  They provided support in drafting the RFP and the contract with the advisor. The choice of Colliers was made by the YSM
  • Once Colliers’ assessment is done, it is anticipated that they will want to engage with all stakeholders. For this, YSM has asked that GPLA have only a very small group to speak for the community

To the last point, a smaller group of more involved GPLA members were emailed and asked to put up recommendations for the small GPLA delegation to interact with Colliers/YSM. Recommendations were based on knowledge, time availability, and to ensure representation across the generations. Christine Innocente, Robert Plitt and Caitlin Plewes have been chosen as our liaisons. Bob Mee will continue in his role interfacing with the Y and will assist whenever needed.

Our first approach will be to write and deliver via Bob and his YSM contact, a short letter of introduction and request for meeting. This one-pager will present and position the GPLA group, the community we represent, and highlight the strengths and capabilities we carry that can be called upon to achieve an outcome that hopefully meets the objectives of YSM and the Geneva Park Community.

We look forward to fielding any question about the above, and sharing any further updates at our next Town Hall Meeting. Watch your inboxes for that date and time in the coming weeks. 

Update on the Seniors' Residence Survey
Thank you to the over 250 people who responded to the Seniors Residence Survey. Your responses showed that there is some interest in our GP Family Community for a retirement facility on the GP site, but that more data is needed. Upon deeper investigations, we have discovered additional details indicating the current capacity of the sewage/water system is too small for a retirement facility. In order for this idea to be viable, any developer would need to upgrade those services. The distance from Orillia and amenities also presents a problem for many potential residents. Most retirement facilities are developed by specialists in that field, and as of yet we have been unable to attract any developers to consider the GP site. We will still include the option on our list of proposals when we meet with the YSM and their advisor, as they might be better able to attract a developer themselves. At this point our investigations have shown that this proposal option would encounter multiple challenges.  

Media Reach and Content Creators!

We're looking for all our friends out there with media contacts! We have a positive community engagement piece in the early stages of development and would really value the input of those with experience with content creation, and those with contacts in the industry! 

If you have some time to help out, please reach out to us by replying to this email. We'd love to chat with you! 

Stay Involved + Updated

Your voice is important! Make sure your friends and family sign up for the Geneva Park Legacy Alliance newsletter HERE

The Friends of Geneva Park Facebook Group is a great way to stay in touch with our GP community! Share your photos and stories, and connect with old friends! 

Want to be featured on the GPLA Instagram? Share your favourite GP photos with us at the link below! 

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We look forward to connecting with you again soon! 


The Geneva Park Legacy Alliance

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