MLA Mike De Jong’s Involvement With YMCA Proposal Questioned

The controversial YMCA project, under consideration by Abbotsford City Council for a gift of $17 million, is one single project to be built on the old MSA Hospital grounds. Many other projects are planned for that area and some of them will proceed with the help of Provincial funding. Abbotsford Today has received multiple and separate reports that Finance Minister Mike de Jong has been attempting to influence the outcome of City Council’s decision by suppressing opposition to the YMCA grant.

Rumours of conflict of interest and backroom deals have plagued this already controversial project which will see the City of Abbotsford give the YMCA 50% of the capital costs of the construction of a recreation facility on the former MSA Hospital grounds. That amount, approximately $17 million, is $5 million more than Abbotsford currently has in its bank accounts.

Last fall, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the YMCA and the City of Abbotsford laying out their future relationship. However, citizens have spoken up in protest of this monetary gift and support for the project seems to be fading.

In addition to the YMCA Recreation Centre planned for the site, a number of other projects have been designated. They include market housing and medical care related facilities. Some of these projects will be built with the help of Provincial funding.

Sources have informed Abbotsford Today that Minister of Finance, Mike de Jong, has approached one, or more, of these groups. He has allegedly stated that if the YMCA does not receive Abbotsford tax dollars and therefore proceed on schedule, the funding for these other groups may go to another City instead of being awarded here in Abbotsford. He allegedly advised one group not to speak out against the YMCA project or risk their own funding.

Abbotsford Today has been unable to find out what interest Mr. De Jong has in the YMCA project, nor why he would allegedly undertake to influence the outcome of its funding. Repeated attempts to contact Minister De Jong have not yielded any comment even though we made him aware of the topic and timing of this article.

Editors Note:

This article was written by Vince Dimanno. It should be disclosed that Mr. Dimanno is working on Independent Candidate Moe Gill’s campaign. Mr. Gill is contesting the election in Mike de Jong’s Abbotsford West riding.  Abbotsford Today received this information and our first duty is to our readers and the citizens of Abbotsford. Mr. Dimanno explicitly chose to write this article so that questions about his connection to Mr. Gill can be answered openly and any conflict of interest allegations answered. Abbotsford Today is a member of the press and as such we have an obligation to report information such as that contained in this article. Mr. Dimanno will also act as the media contact for questions about this article.

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Sandra Jenkins says:

    What a bunch of unfounded innuendo.

    • Sandra: This is not merely ‘unfounded innuendo’ given that Mike de Jong committed $1.5 million in Provincial funding right at the get-go, before ever we in Abbotsford had even been given a heads-up as to the impact the YMCA would have on our finances, and on competing business operations.

      Nor have mayor and council provided the tax-payers any clear data to this present hour.

      This YMCA proposal has been sprung on our community, while the details have been shrouded and conflicting.

      Why would council attempt to ram through something so bad for us and so great for the YMCA?

  • DeceitinDrugs says:

    Michael DeJong’s involvement with Abbotsford’s YMCA proposal
    comes down to “development.”

    His government has already gifted the YMCA $1.5 million towards
    the acquisition of land for the new project.

    The City of Abbotsford, Fraser Health Authority and a certain
    developer/developers have met together and discussed the development
    of the old MSA site, which is owned by F.H.A.

    Developer/s pointed out that a YMCA is needed to help sell residential
    properitesd developed on the site and the money from the sale of the
    new housing is needed to help FHA pay for new extended care facilities
    to replace the old facilities.

    The City of Abbotsford is facilitating the development of the
    old M.S.A. site for 2 reasons:
    – support for select developers, who have investments in the area,
    including the A.D.B.A. and dependance on DCC’S to help
    replenish DCC reserves and repay internal borrowing from this fund.

    F.H.A./Michael DeJong, also, need the monies from the real estate
    sales to continue with the replacement of the old extended care

    In addition, Michael DeJong’s close association with select developers/
    campaign supporters in Abbotsford would enable him to support them via this project.
    The public needs to question the timing of developer, Karen Matty,
    Matsqui Development Co., recent appointment to the FHA board.

    She has several properties along McCallum Road and now sits on
    the FHA board, giving her insight into the development of the old
    M.S.A. Site.

    She is a Michael DeJong supporter and contributed to his last campaign.

    There is more to bringing a YMCA to Abbotsford to meet the needs of
    the community.

    Development interests of the City of Abbotsford and the B.C. Government
    is driving this push for a YMCA and it is, also, supported by the
    Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, in the interest of it’s certain developer members.

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