ECONOMIC GARDENER – June 2016
Since moving into its new facilities at the Pictou County Wellness Centre almost four years ago, the growth, participation and outreach of the Pictou County YMCA have doubled!
Combined with the growing popularity of the Wellness Centre itself as a recreational, social and cultural hub, the facility on Westville Road has become a community centre, in the true sense of the word.
Greater participation means healthier people. More events help pay for the operation of the Centre, which is critical to maintain as it is a not-for-profit, public service. And local businesses benefit from spin-off spending, especially when events attract people from out of the County.
The Y has more than 4,500 members who participate in more than 80 classes each week, from swimming, children’s programming, aqua fit and cycle fit to Zumba and more. The Y’s capacity to offer enhanced programming has grown, not just at the Centre, but through programs offered in the community.
Most people do not realize that the Y provides membership assistance to access their programs by reducing fees for those who cannot afford to take part. Annually the Y gives away over $270,000 in this way. Under the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign funding is made available to provide these services including free youth programming and a youth leadership group.
After school bus services from local schools and a bus service to get students home to key locations in the County ensure students arrive and get home safe. After school programs are run for seven local elementary schools and 57 children are enrolled in the Childcare Centre.
In addition to being the home of the Pictou County Weeks Junior A Crushers, the Wellness Centre hosts the Mariposa East Skating Centre and provides ice for the Female Subway Selects, Pictou County Minor Hockey and New Glasgow Minor Hockey as well as for recreational teams and skaters. Just this spring, the Centre attracted the Hockey Nova Scotia Day of Champions and the provincial broomball championships.
The Centre’s conference facilities are also well used and are attracting major events such as the record breaking 2015 Nova Scotia 55Plus Games, the Maritime Fire Chiefs Conference and Trade Show, and the provincial Silver Economy Summit, plus the Career Connections Job Fair, the United Way Volunteer Fair and the female Midget AAA annual general meeting.
Plans are now underway to host the North Nova High School graduation, the Recreation Nova Scotia Annual Conference and Trade Show and seven weddings this summer.
People are choosing to use the Centre for other events as well, such as the Michelin Junior Bike Event, the United Way Fire Truck Pull and the Pictou County Waste Management Shredding and Hazardous Waste Disposal Day, to name just three.
The Pictou County Wellness Centre is making a difference in people’s lives and the impact is far greater than meets the eye, particularly in providing all of us opportunities to live more heathy lifestyles, to enjoy ourselves, to showcase the County to a growing number of visitors and to come together as a community.
The payback, in terms of improvements to physical and mental health, not to mention community engagement, has much more impact on our community than most people would realize.
The growing number of province-wide events choosing to come to the Centre is a real indicator that something great is happening here, right under our noses. Pictou County has always been a beautiful place to live and work. The Wellness Centre is making it even better.
Pictou County Chamber of Commerce