Help us keep our children safe

The YMCA Canberra is seeking community support to help with their campaign against an amendment to a Development Application on a large residential development site next to our Early Learning Centre in Gungahlin.  Our key concerns are the risk to the safety of the children accessing our Centre due to the narrow shared driveway and increased traffic flow resulting from the proposed increase in residential and commercial units, and the waste management arrangements with large trucks accessing and blocking the driveway throughout the week. In addition to this is our concern of breaches of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in relation to Privacy with close to 100 units facing into the Centre.

How you can help

To help, please consider lodging a short written submission to ACT Planning before 9 June 2020. The short form linked below must include the following Development Application details:

Development Application:  207132666
Block 4, Section 224
Period for representation closes: 
9 June 2020

If you would like more information or to see the plans proposed by the developer please visit Access Canberra website and scroll to the relevant development.

Other ways you can support

If you would like to speak with some at YMCA Canberra, contact Madeleine Taylor, YMCA Canberra Chief Risk Officer at or 0431 384 451.

Covid-19 Y Canberra's Response and Latest Updates

Keep up to date with live status alerts

The YMCA Canberra Critical Emergency Alert System is now activated. This system has been setup to keep all families, staff and community members up to date on the opening and closure status of Y Canberra services. To follow live updates click on the button below and subscribe to the feed. If you are already using our services you will be subscribed to receiving email and/or SMS alerts as they impact you e.g. your child visits one of our Early Learning Centres, Out of School Hours Care or you use our health and fitness services.

Get Live Y Service Updates Now

On this page:

  1. How is the Y monitoring the risk of COVID-19?
  2. Where you can access the latest government advice?
  3. What is self-isolation?
  4. How the Y is managing impacts to services?
  5. Preventative measures Y Canberra has taken so far?

How is the Y monitoring the risk of COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

YMCA Canberra (the Y) is continuing to monitor the situation and is following ACT Health for notifications and procedures. As the spread of infections has rapidly increased in recent days, Government decisions to impose further exclusions is changing on less than a daily basis so we may be required to act on this direction quickly but we are committed to making timely decisions as soon as this information is made available from the Federal and ACT government. This is why we encourage people who need the latest information from the Y, to subscribe to the Y Canberra Critical Emergency Alert System as the most current information as we receive it will be available on this page.

Where you can access the latest government advice?


Social distancing and hygiene

Fees and CCS

What is self-isolation?

Being isolated at home means that the adult, child or young person needs to stay at home for the full period, unless they need medical attention. They cannot go into public areas, and should not use public transportation, ride share or taxis. Visitors to the home should be discouraged.

How is the Y managing impacts to services?

Preventative measures the Y has taken so far

Y Canberra have been operating with increased hygiene practices for over a month now. To help reassure our members, parents and carers, please see measures implemented to date:

Preventative measures for your household

Please ensure everyone in your household continues to practice good hygiene, including:

We are sorry to report that recently, the YMCA community lost Ralph Westen. A great man who played a fundamental role in founding, developing and supporting YMCA Canberra’s Sailing Club.

For those of you who didn’t know Ralph, he was a man of many great traits and accomplishments – from being an original co-founder of the club; contributive club and boathouse designer; committee member; club commodore; race starter; to keen photographer and contributed to the club’s newsletter for many years. More importantly though, he was an adoring husband to his lovely wife Billie, a fellow committee member, club contributor and life member. He is remembered as a cheeky, kind and outgoing man, with a great sense of humour.  He was also even a keen gemologist in his later retirement years!

To establish a better idea of who this outstanding man was and the true impact that he had on our local community, we spoke to Ralph’s fellow club colleague and long-term friend, Ron Thompson.

Tell us about how you came to know Ralph, and how he contributed to YMCA Canberra’s Sailing Club over the years

First and foremost, Ralph was one of the two founders of the Sailing Club. As he, his wife Billie (a long time manager of YMCA Civic) and a few other keen skiers who were at the then YMCA Thredbo Ski Lodge were talking about Lake Burley Griffin being filled – they thought ‘why don’t we start a sailing club?’ Ralph and another gentleman called Val Parel then started the YMCA sailing club. The Y Board were very happy to have a sailing club as part of their community. Sailing with the club originally started on Lake George, then Lotus Bay and eventually moving to where the club resides now, on Yarralumla Bay, Lake Burley Griffin once the lake filled… That’s how it all started! In fact, Ralph had the first sailing boat on the Lake as it was filling with water! He showed me photos of his boat sitting on the Lake before it was even full.

“Ralph was also instrumental in the building of the club house. From the plans to the design, to selecting land, (to eventually) getting approval to build the club on Yarralumla Bay. Even down to the finest details like selected timbers and painting everything that you see today, Ralph was involved in all of it… A number of years later, he was equally as involved in the design and building of the boatshed.

“Ralph was a past Commodore of the club, he and his wife Billie often sailed and they started the club newsletter Mains’l, of which Billie was the editor for many years. Ralph provided a lot of photographs for these publications, being a very keen photographer.

The YMCA sailing club originally started & finished all the races from an old caravan parked on the shore at the mouth of the bay. The racing starting boat that the club has used for many years was purchased and named Westen after Ralph and Billie. Ralph started and finished races for many years before retiring from the sport. In the early days, races were started with a shotgun & Ralph was fondly remembered for blowing a hole in the start number board one day when he accidentally discharged the gun in the wrong direction”

I first met Ralph in 1984, when I started sailing in Canberra. Then, when I became commodore of the club, about 12 years ago, I got to know Ralph even more with lengthy discussions around how the club was formed & grown. Ralph & Billie became life members of the club & in later years I used to take him and Billie along to presentation nights.

“When Ralph and Billie moved into their retirement home, I visited them to chat and had regular phone conversations about sailing, the club and life in general. We ended up being very good friends over many years.”

How would you describe Ralph personally and how he uniquely impacted the club and the members throughout the years?

He just had that type of personality where he could make people laugh, engage with everyone easily and make anyone feel involved…”

“With his interest in sailing and always wanting the best things for the club, he was consistently impactful. It was part of him… He has influenced many, many people throughout the years and always in a positive way.”

While there is no way to summarise Ralph’s life and what he truly meant to the Sailing Club,  we think Ron probably put it best in saying, “He was simply a really nice person, who will be missed by the people who knew him.”

Our thoughts are with his wife Billie, loved ones and friends during this difficult time. He will be remembered fondly by us here at the Y.

Dear Leumeah and Bush Capital Lodge  guests,

Please be advised that a State of Emergency has now been declared in the ACT for all areas of the ACT:

This is vital to ensure the safety of the community and to ensure people are prepared as conditions become more challenging over the coming days. It has been declared due to the Orroral Valley fire burning out of control in Namadgi National Park. The State of Emergency will be in effect from Friday 31 January 2020 to Sunday 2 February 2020. This fire is currently at at Emergency Level.

We want to assure you that we are actively monitoring the situation throughout Canberra, as it relates to our local programs and accommodation venues. Despite the State of Emergency, there is currently no immediate fire threat to Leumeah Lodge in Nicholls or Bush Capital Lodge in O’Conner.

In the event that you are unable to travel due to these prevailing weather conditions, please contact reception on 02 6152 8388 no later than 24 hours prior to your arrival date.

We would like to offer some resources relevant to the ACT in monitoring the changing situation:

ACT Emergency Services Agency: Advice on the State of Alert, relevant bushfire advice, and road closures within the ACT are available on their website & communicated frequently via their Facebook Page &
ACT Health: will offer up-to-date advice surrounding the presence of Smoke in the ACT
Bureau of Meteorology: for any other weather-related warnings
Live Traffic NSW: for information on road closures around the ACT

For guests currently on-site: 

– Our staff have undergone fire warden and evacuation training
– We have an emergency management plan in place, which includes evacuation maps displayed in all rooms
– We have fire alarms and fire safety equipment across the property
– For after-hours emergencies for on-site guests, please contact 0427 688 459

Reception staff are contactable during the following hours:

Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm
Saturday 10am to 6pm
Sunday 9am to 3pm
Public Holidays times may vary.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us. We hope you enjoy your stay with Leumeah Lodge and Bush Capital Lodge.

Y Canberra is continuing to monitor the situation and is following ACT Health for notifications and procedures. Below is the current information shared by Australian Government Department of Health (31 January 2020):

To date, all the information from around the world has suggested that confirmed cases of novel coronavirus could only spread the infection while they have symptoms.

There is now emerging information that some people may be infectious for a short period before they develop symptoms, or when they have very minimal symptoms.

For this reason, and in line with national health advice, we are taking a highly precautionary approach and making the following recommendations:

  1. People who have been in contact with any confirmed novel coronavirus cases must be isolated in their home for 14 days following exposure; and
  2. Returned travellers who have been in Hubei Province of China must be isolated in their home for 14 days after leaving Hubei Province, other than for seeking individual medical care.

Given the lower number of cases in mainland China reported outside of Hubei Province, we do not currently recommend self-isolation for travellers from other parts of mainland China or other countries.

The Australian government is closely monitoring the situation and this advice will be updated, as necessary.

In addition to following the above advice, Y Canberra is:

Y Canberra will provide updates as needed to our families, participants and community via Storypark and our Website.

Please speak with your Director, Coordinator or Site Manager if you have any questions or concerns.

Kind Regards

Director/ Coordinator/ Site Manager


Download the Y Canberra Child Health and Wellbeing Policy here