The Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics facility on East Vernon Road has been approved for non-farm use by the Agricultural Land Commission. (Morning Star file photo)

ALC approves gymnastics club application

Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics gets approval to continue after ALC approves non-farm use application

There was obvious relief in Camille Martens’ voice Friday.

The Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame member, former Canadian Olympian and founder, owner and operator of the Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics Society had just received word that the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) approved the society’s application for non-farm use.

This allows the society to continue operating its gym and studio at the 2515 East Vernon Road property.

“I’d reached a level of exhaustion over the uncertainty of potentially losing everything I’ve spent 20 years building up,” said Martens, who stated a no vote from the ALC would have spelled the end of the club.

In a written message to The Morning Star, Martens said: “My heart is totally overwhelmed with gratitude for our many loving and generous supporters. The relief is completely overtaking me…the tears are flowing…can’t stop crying. Now I’m just hoping that we can work together with RDNO (Regional District of North Okanagan) to finalize everything as soon as possible in terms of what they will require now.”

In June, RDNO put up a do not occupy for assembly use order on the facility on a Friday afternoon, then lifted it less than 72 hours later, saying the “property owner’s efforts to close the mezzanine area of the building.

RDNO officials said they were satisfied appropriate progress was being made on primary health and safety concerns, along with a commitment to eventually meeting the requirements of the B.C. Building Code.”