Shuttered Moncton community centre seeks court approval to distribute remaining funds

The drained pool at St. Pat's Family Centre, where life jackets and swimming goggles still surrounded the pool deck in July 2020, two years after its doors closed.  (Shane Magee/CBC - image credit)
The drained pool at St. Pat's Family Centre, where life jackets and swimming goggles still surrounded the pool deck in July 2020, two years after its doors closed. (Shane Magee/CBC - image credit)

The board of a former community centre in downtown Moncton wants court approval to distribute the money from the sale of its building to the Catholic Church and various charities and non-profits.

St. Patrick's Family Centre, which included a daycare, pool and gym, closed abruptly in 2018 citing financial difficulties. After years of trying to find a way to reopen, members voted in 2020 to sell the Providence Street property for $2.5 million.

"Despite having substantial remaining assets held in trust as a result of the sale of this property, it is the board of directors' belief that the St. Patrick's Family Centre has become defunct and is no longer able to fulfil the purposes for which it was incorporated," states the application, which was filed last month.

It asks for a judge to allow St. Patrick's to break a condition of its 1962 incorporation requiring all assets to be given to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Moncton if it shut down.

Instead, it wants approval to give $1.8 million to the church and $440,000 to a dozen charities and non-profits in the Moncton region.

Shane Magee/CBC
Shane Magee/CBC

The court paperwork says the St. Patrick's board held a meeting April 2 to discuss the plan and approved it.

About $80,000 will be held back for paying various costs related to winding up the organization, and any of that remaining money would also be transferred to the church. It also says the board is still determining the exact balance of its remaining funds.

St. Patrick's treasurer Tyson Milner declined an interview prior to a judge hearing the request.

In an affidavit in support of the court application, Milner says the church agrees with the proposed distribution.

Archbishop Valéry Vienneau declined an interview.

No court date has been set for a judge to consider the application. The application lays how much would go to the various groups:

  • Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont Regional Hospital Foundation - $20,000

  • Food Depot Alimentaire - $60,000

  • Friends of the Moncton Hospital - $20,000

  • Moncton Boys and Girls Club - $160,000

  • Touchstone Counselling Group - $10,000

  • What Kids Need Moncton - $10,000

  • Youth Impact Jeunesse - $30,000

  • Ray of Hope - $20,000

  • Riverview Boys and Girls Club - $50,000

  • Isthmus Moncton/Blessings in a Backpack - $20,000

  • John Howard Society of Southeastern New Brunswick - $20,000

  • Elizabeth Fry Society - $20,000

Shane Magee/CBC
Shane Magee/CBC

St. Patrick's was opened in 1964 by the Catholic Church as an alternative to the YMCA. Milner's affidavit says its purpose was to promote, foster and encourage the religious, recreational, social, cultural, charitable and educational activities of its members and their families.

The church eventually sold the centre to a not-for-profit group that ran the facility until it closed four years ago. The board said it wasn't making enough money to cover its bills and pay for repairs the building required.

Despite various efforts to find a way to reopen under a new board, members voted to sell the property to Partenaire Dumont Inc., an organization linked to the neighbouring Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre. Partenaire Dumont buys land for the hospital.

St. Pat's Family Centre
St. Pat's Family Centre

It wasn't clear how the proceeds of the sale would be used when members voted to sell the property. Members who attended a meeting in July 2020 were told they would be presented with options in the future.

The property is being redeveloped to serve as an administrative space for Vitalité Health Network staff who worked in leased office space on Main Street.

Vitalité spokesperson Jean-René Noël told Radio-Canada that work next year will see administrative staff relocated to the former St. Patrick's site from the Dumont to make room in the hospital for a new provincial public health laboratory.