Gymnasts seek land support

The North Valley Gymnastics Society was before the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee Thursday

Lobbying for a gymnastics facility continues.

The North Valley Gymnastics Society asked the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee Thursday to provide land for a 12,000-square-foot building and to guarantee the mortgage.

“We will have a healthy debate on the topic,” said Juliette Cunningham, GVAC chairperson.

While the society, which recently went before the City of Vernon, wants assistance from local government, it says it will cover the down payment, debt servicing, equipment and management.

“Today, we could put up to $1 million for a building,” said Rob Vat, NVGS president.

However, director Mike Macnabb is concerned GVAC could be left holding the bag financially.

“If you default, we have a problem,” Macnabb told Vat.

“There needs to be the assurances going forward that the money will always be there (to pay the debt). I don’t want taxpayers on the hook.”

NVGS’ financial plan is based on user fees, potential grants and event revenue.

“If there are no kids (and the society ceases), the city will own a 12,000-square-foot building for a gym. Do we have enough recreational space?” said Vat.

Currently, the society leases a 5,000-square-foot facility and the space has become inadequate because of strong demand for programs.

The staff of 15 trains 600 people a week and there is a wait list for registration.

Most of the participants are between the ages of five and 12 and the society also works with schools and individuals with developmental disabilities.

The club’s current lease is done in January 2018 and the goal is to have a new facility by then.