YMCA Geneva Park Announcement
April 29, 2022
We are pleased to share that the Superior Court of Justice has dismissed the lawsuit by the Friends of Geneva Park. A link to the full decision can be found here.
The sale of Geneva Park is now complete. We have achieved a solution that is the best possible outcome for our YMCA and all those who love Geneva Park. The buyer can begin the critical process of renewing this important legacy property for the future.
Our work now will turn to facilitating a smooth transition, which includes working with the buyer to explore opportunities to celebrate the YMCA’s legacy at the park to this point in time.
Our Board of Directors will be making a plan about how the proceeds of the sale will be invested into the charitable activities of our association. This will be undertaken through a thoughtful process, according to our new strategic plan, which will take some time. However, we are committed to communicating with the communities we serve across the region as these decisions are made.
As we have always said, we appreciate and respect the great passion that many stakeholder groups, including our own staff team, have for Geneva Park.
It is our hope that we can all look to the future now, focused on the great potential and possibility for our YMCA in the region, including our presence in the Orillia community.
The expression of interest process was led by our real estate partners, Colliers, and this process allowed for the submission of proposals and their evaluation against the outcomes decided on at the beginning of the process including: potential for continued full or partial use by the YMCA including necessary investments to address immediate and future infrastructure and capital needs of the park; facilitating the preservation of the local environment and waterways; respecting the historical stewards of the land, including the Anishinaabe people, the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, on whose traditional territory Geneva Park is situated, and the generation of revenue to support the long-term sustainability of the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka. The buyer put forth the strongest proposal to achieve the outcomes of the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka.
The new owner is a community-minded entrepreneur with a history of revitalization projects in our region. With a focus on building for the future and an appreciation for the history of Geneva Park, the new owner, Clayton Smith of The Commercial Realty Group, intends to preserve the unique character of the land and the incredible on-site amenities. Clayton has a genuine passion and a demonstrated history of breathing new life into iconic historical buildings in Toronto and destinations throughout the region, such as the nearby Orillia Rama Regional Airport (ORRA), Spirit Bay Harbor in Muskoka, Georgian Bay Airways in Parry Sound, and even the successful restoration of fish species to Shrigley Creek, Manitoulin Island.
We know everyone is keen to hear what is happening with Geneva Park this summer. The buyer is now taking the time to assess the property and clearly understand what work needs to be done to ensure a safe and fun summer at Geneva Park. Once the buyer has had time to complete their assessment, you can expect to hear from them about summer 2022.
We are working with each member of the Geneva Park staff team to ensure they have the supports they need to move forward. While we cannot speak on behalf of employees or the buyer, we can say that we understand the buyer intends to engage with staff after they have completed their due diligence review and while nothing has been confirmed, if the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka continues to operate programming on the site, we will look forward to sharing any potential employment opportunities with past full time and seasonal staff. For staff who do not work directly at Geneva Park, there is no impact to their employment as a result of this announcement.
The sale closes at the end of April and the buyer is now taking the time to assess the property and clearly understand what work needs to be done to ensure many safe and fun summers at Geneva Park for years to come. Once the buyer has had time to complete their assessment, they will be better positioned to begin making operational decisions.
We are now starting the process of exploring how we can honour the history of Geneva Park while also being excited for the future of the park for individuals, families and groups. Stay tuned to the website for more information as we move forward.
Note: Additional FAQs to be developed based on community questions.
Our YMCA is committed to transparency and continued communication throughout the decision-making process and we want to hear from you.
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