YMCA, “I think a lot of people are not coming back.”
(By Toronto Star Staff Reporter Maureen Murray Wednesday, October 30, 2002)
Asha Patel has been a loyal member of the YMCA of Greater Toronto for nearly a quarter-century, volunteering as a fitness instructor for 15 of those years.
But now Patel is angry at the institution she has long called her second home ― and she’s not the only one.
Patel pays $1,200 a year for a Membership Plus health-club-style membership at the Y on Grosvenor St. The rate is about twice as much as general members pay, and entitles clients to separate facilities and other privileges.
Of late, however, Patel and others have found themselves crammed in with the general members during renovations, which started in June.
“We pretty much pay double the fees so we can have a private area. I scrimp and save on other things so I can afford the health club,” she said.
About 2,000 of the Grosvenor Y’s 12,000 clients belong to Membership Plus, which offers amenities like a TV lounge, nap rooms, a wet steam room, a weight room separate from the general Y, skin cream, deodorant and a seemingly endless supply of towels.
Client Sandra Mark said she got tired of the battleground the Y had become and decided to join another fitness club.
But Mark said some members felt shut out by an organization they have supported.
“I think a lot of people are not coming back.”