The YMCA of Brandon will soon be legally able to own its land and building again, thanks to a change to provincial legislation that had restricted the value of property the organization could own.
When the YMCA of Brandon was established, it was incorporated in 1905 through a law passed at the Manitoba legislature. The law stated the YMCA could not own assets worth more than $100,000 in assets or borrow more than $75,000. This became problematic when the YMCA attempted to get a mortgage to fund its major renovation and expansion project, because the financial institution discovered it couldn’t legally grant the loan, YMCA of Brandon CEO Lon Cullen said.
“The bank told us, you can’t do this because you are building a $20-million facility, so you are in contravention of the act,” Cullen said. “The board has a constitution and has been changing that all the time, but we never changed the law and we didn’t know it would come back and hit us.
“The current Y is worth more than $100,000, so it’s just a matter for us to get our ducks in a row so the bank can loan us the money for a mortgage.”
The bill, now in second reading, is a private member’s bill presented by Brandon East NDP MLA Drew Caldwell, who represents the area where the YMCA is based.
“Historically, there are two ways non-profit groups legally structure themselves,” Caldwell said. “One is through the legislature, which was more common years ago and is highly not common now. It was quite common 100 years ago, when the Y legally constituted itself, to do it through an act of the legislature. In the last 50 years, it’s been Corporations branch that has taken over that responsibility.”
Caldwell said the bill will reach the committee stage on Monday, and he has the goal of getting it passed before June 14, the last day the legislature sits before the summer break.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 6, 2012