– Ahmed S. Minhas, staff

Brantford’s city council has voted to back Laurier and the YMCA in building a new athletic complex.

In a recorded 10-1 vote during a special public session, Brantford city council approved the $5.8 million funding for the YMCA and Wilfrid Laurier University joint athletic complex.

The YMCA/Laurier athletic complex will be taking shape in the recently emptied lot on Colborne Street beside Grand River Hall and adjacent to the parking garage.

In spite of a request from the university to be granted the land, the city has decided that they will in fact sell the land on Colborne Street, at a cost to be determined later.

For the 5.8 million dollars that will be contributed to the project, the city hopes to mortgage the amount beginning in a few years, and continue to fund the repayments through casino revenues.

Meanwhile, the YMCA and Laurier will pick up the servicing and municipal costs.

“This provides improved access to health and wellness services for the city and its residents,” Laurier director of government relations, Brian Rosborough, told city council. “It will bring economic development and revitalization to Colborne Street. It will be a very important catalyst to stimulate growth in post-secondary education.”

The athletic complex will be a 130,000 square foot facility built into the empty lot on Colborne Street. The athletic complex will feature a twenty-five meter pool, gymnasiums with seating for up to 1,200 people, a fitness studio and workout areas.

With YMCA’s partnership, the athletic complex will also offer services to the community with programmable spaces and programs.

Wilfrid Laurier University and the YMCA developed a plan in order to fund the project.

So far, the project has received funding from the provincial government of 16.7 million dollars. Both Laurier and the YMCA of Hamilton, Burlington and Brantford will put up 9.6 million dollars, and the city will now offer 5.8 million.

A further $16.7 million is required from the federal government through the Build Canada Fund. The university expects to hear whether the funding will be approved by the Build Canada Fund in the spring.