Vernon’s North Valley Gymnastics Society hopes to tumble into some regional cash.
The society appeared as a delegation before the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee Thursday morning at Coldstream Hall to ask for support in recommending to the Regional District of North Okanagan directors a grant in the amount of $450,000.
The money would be used to help with costs as the society renovates its new facility on 31st Street near Chasers Bottle Depot.
“The expansion of the club to a larger facility will allow us to offer more comprehensive programs to the entire community,” said club spokesperson Paul Williamson, supported in the gallery by more than 20 gymnasts, parents, board members and coaches.
The club, founded in 1993, has never had its own permanent home.
It’s currently leasing a 5,700-square-foot facility on 45th Avenue, and has for the past five years, but the leased space is not adequate with many drawbacks that affect the club’s programming and ability to grow.
The new facility, the former Vernon RV building, will be an 8,500-square-foot facility featuring a main gym, pre-school gym, viewing area, office, foyer, washroom and coach’s room.
The club hopes to move into its new home May 31.
“This is an interim step towards a goal of a full 14,000 square-foot facility, but that’s down the road a ways,” said Williamson.
The current club membership sits at 470 and draws students from Lumby, Armstrong, Enderby and Edgewood. The club facility is also used by organizations like Kindale, Vernon School District, homeschool programs, special needs adult’s day program, Silver Star Freestyle Ski Club and cheerleader groups.
The society has been helped by the Regional District before, with in-kind donations, but never anything financial. It’s willing to form a partnership with RDNO in the development of a multi-use sports facility that would include a dedicated 14,000-square-foot gymnasium specifically for artistic and aerobic gymnastics.
“We would participate financially in a public/private partnership for a new facility,” said Williamson. “Being the owners of a new building, we will have the resources to contribute substantially. The intention would be for for the NVGS to continue offering our full and expanded program in a new, future facility.”
The request for $450,000 comes with the full cost of construction of the new facility not certain, and some costs are coming in higher than anticipated.
NVGS would like to have half of the requested amount as soon as possible.
“We have groups coming to us (for money) and if there’s no depth to the group, it’s hard to rationalize any money going to them,” said GVAC director Mike Macnabb. “The fact you have good membership numbers shows community support which is important to us.”
The NVGS request will be discussed at the next GVAC meeting March 7. If approved, it will be sent to the RDNO board for ratification.