The capital campaign team for the new YMCA in Coquitlam is in its final stretch as the building is scheduled to open this fall in Burquitlam.
Like many longtime residents in Coquitlam, Tracy Price has deep roots in her community.
Her folks grew up in Maillardville, she graduated from Port Moody Secondary and brought up her own family on home turf.
So when it came time to give back, Price raised her hand to help with major capital campaigns such as with the Crossroads Hospice Society and the Eagle Ridge Hospital Foundation (ERHF) that would make her community better.
Now, with her daughters out of the house and she and her husband close to retirement, Price vowed to take the lead for one more fundraising drive.
And it was a no-brainer when the YMCA of Greater Vancouver came calling for her talents.
Five years ago, after the charity inked a deal with the City of Coquitlam and Concert Properties to build The Heart of Burquitlam, Price was tapped to take on a group of volunteers to collect $3 million to get the 55,000 sq-ft. building up.
Currently, her team is “in its home stretch” — with just $850,000 to go — and is hoping to meet its mark by the time the Y opens this fall at 555 Emerson St., close to the Burquitlam SkyTrain station.
“We’re coming into a really big year with this building opening at the end,” Price told the Tri-City News in an interview today (Jan. 13).
“This is a city that I grew up in and this is a community that I want to see prosper.”
BETTIE ALLARD YMCA
Named the Bettie Allard YMCA in honour of the late mother of philanthropist Peter Allard, a Vancouver lawyer, the Burquitlam Y is one of three capital projects on the YMCA’s books and is part of a $152-million regional push call What Really Matters: The Chilliwack site (45844 Hocking St.) opened in February 2020 after the community raised $3.2 million as part of its $3-million pledge; the charity also has a future South Vancouver facility in the works for 49th and Cambie.
According to its plans, the Burquitlam Y will have three levels and will include a warm water teaching and fitness pool, a five-lane tank, a café, universal change rooms, family social space, a gym, fitness studios and childminding in an open environment. The $77-million P3 project for The Heart of Burquitlam will also see a 3,700-sq. ft. community police station, strata and rental housing in surrounding towers and Cottonwood Park doubled.
The current neighbours, as well as new residents in the high-rises — on the Concert land and Morguard property at the upcoming redeveloped Burquitlam mall — are the target audience for the YMCA, which is contributing $38 million and will pay for all operating costs as it manages the facility and co-owns it with the municipality.
That is to say, families with young children, seniors and new Canadians will find the resources they need in Burquitlam, a neighbourhood that’s evolving rapidly with the introduction of the Evergreen Extension.
“Burquitlam is changing. It’s been underserved for so long with services,” said Price, a senior manager at RBC who used to work at the Shoppers Drug Mart at Burquitlam Plaza mall while studying at SFU.
“With the high-rises, we see [the YMCA] as a centre for the community, a safe place where people can meet.”
Price said it’s likely families in nearby developments will be living in tight quarters, “so the YMCA can be like their living room” and offer a place to connect with others.
Darlene Hepburn, the YMCA’s campaign lead for the Coquitlam project, told the Tri-City News it’s been exciting to work with the cabinet to raise funds “because they’re all in the game of getting to the finish line.”
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, the team has met online monthly to share stories about donors and prospective investors, and celebrate milestones.
Among its top donors to date are Port Coquitlam Provincial Court Judge Patricia Janzen and Gavin Hume, Q.C.; the Scully Family; the Spraggs family; the BC Maritime Employers Association; Canadian Western Bank; and Bill and Candice Davidson.
“Every gift, we are truly grateful to receive,” Hepburn said.
To donate to the capital campaign or for more information about the construction progress, you're encouraged to visit YMCA's What Really Matters website. For larger donations, call Darlene Hepburn, vice president of fund development, at 604-790-8653 or email firstname.lastname@example.org/
- Tracy Price (chair)
- Darlene Hepburn (staff)
- David Crawford
- Bill Davidson
- Marko Dekovic
- Kelsey Dunwoodie
- Barry MacDonald
- Gabriele Scully
- Megan Stowe
- David Woollven
The YMCA of Greater Vancouver has a new president and CEO.
Heidi Worthington was appointed to the top chair on Tuesday (Jan. 11) by the board of directors and takes effect March 21.
Previously with the Pacific Blue Cross as its senior vice president and chief revenue officer, Worthington was on the Y board from 2017 to 2020.
She takes over from Stephen Butz, who retired after 42 years with the YMCA in Canada.
Over the past decade, the YMCA of Greater Vancouver has grown to nearly 1,200 employees servicing more than 120,000 people in the Lower Mainland and on the Sunshine Coast.
Its revenue this year is expected to reach $67 million, with with total assets approaching $100 million — making it the largest operational charity in B.C.