SUMMERSIDE - The Summerside YMCA has a new tenant ready to begin operations in the new year.
âWe do have a tenant leasing our facility,â said Ron Perry, president of YMCA Prince Edward Island. âThat would be Wee Wonder Daycare, so itâs quite compatible with what weâve been offering. Itâs a long-term lease and weâre optimistic that it will work out. And weâre looking for other opportunities to carry on similar types of activities although certainly not in the same vein as childcare services that we have been doing to this date.â
The board of directors of the YMCA of Prince Edward Island is cutting its childcare programs at the Summerside centre effective Dec. 20 because of declining numbers and increasing costs.
Perry said normally, there is a full capacity of 50 children in the early year centre. He said the centre would need 40 children enrolled to break even. The centre only has between 25 and 27 children enrolled.
The childcare licence issued by the province cannot be transferred to another operator, Perry said.
âThe province has already told us that they are not going to issue any new licences,â he said. âSo, only the existing day care centres will be able to take advantage of our loss. None of the daycare centres are full. Even with our closure they still wonât be full because in all likelihood they'll be spread out to the point where I donât think any of them will actually be full.â
Perry said that was one of the reasons the board of directors decided to get out of the daycare business.
âThereâs just not enough demand and it looks like there is a decline in the number of children coming into the community,â he said. âThe writingâs on the wall.â
The new day care will begin operations at the YMCA on Jan. 1.
âWe still have the vast majority of our children,â he said. âWeâve only lost a few children and weâre good until Dec. 20. Weâre optimistic that it will be a successful business. It will be very similar to what weâve been doing but their overhead will be considerably less than ours because of various other commitments weâve had over the years to YMCA Canada, and union fees and things like that and high administration costs.â
Perry said the YMCA is still in operation in Summerside.
âWe are not a dead operation,â he said. âWeâre diminished for sure and we will be looking for new opportunities as the year unfolds for different things that we might be able to offer to the community. Weâre still committed to doing work in the community.â
The city offers no financial support to the YMCA, unlike the Boys and Girls Club of Summerside, which receives $20,000 annually or Generation XX that gets a $25,000 grant on a yearly basis from the city.
âWe have asked for funding in the past and have been denied but that was a few years ago,â Perry said. âIt doesnât mean that we wonât be asking for support in the future. That very well may be the case. It depends on the kinds of projects the Y wants to take on and weâll see where we go from there.â