Vernon’s North Valley Gymnastics Society has appealed to the City of Vernon for funding.
The society has requested $75,000 from the city to help with costs after the club moved into a renovated facility on 31st Street in Vernon in May 2018, and qualified the society for a $1.2 million mortgage.
“While we have received substantial financial and ‘in-kind’ support from the community at large, we are still in urgent need of your support to help us meet our current commitments,” said society spokesperson Paul Williamson in a presentation to Vernon council Monday.
The club originally approached the Greater Vernon Advisory Council slightly more than a year ago, Feb. 8, 2018, to request financial support of $225,000 for construction of the new gym.
Since then, North Valley Gymnastics has rebuilt and moved into its new facility and acquired a $17,250 grant from the Regional District of North Okanagan.
The $75,000 request would represent the city portion if the current Greater Vernon Recreation Agreement formula was used. If the city grants the request, the society would re-apply to the District of Coldstream to contribute and match the RDNO grant amount.
Vernon, Coldstream and GVAC passed supports in principle or conditional support in 2018, though Coldstream removed its support in August of last year, said Williamson, “on the assumption that we are a privately owned and operated facility.”
“We are a publicly funded non-profit society as per the current B.C. Societies Act,” said Williamson.
RDNO granted funding support in September 2018, and in December of last year, Coldstream’s finance committee met to motion support to match the RDNO grant, but the vote on the motion was a 3-3 tie, meaning it was defeated.
The society has collected more than $65,000 through grants and fundraising toward the facility which, according to Williamson, has a current assessed value of $1.6 million.
He also noted past attempts at public/private partnerships had been unsuccessful.
The club has 14 coaches and more than 600 kids registered.
“We are projected to continue to grow,” said club president Robin Nanji. “We project consistent growth, as we did even when we didn’t have this building.”
The society accommodates groups such as Splatsin First Nation and Kindale Developmental Association and is working on trying to get school classes into its facility.
Nanji added that kids who had once left their club to train at “beautiful” and “amazing” facilities in Lake Country and Kelowna have now returned to the North Valley club.
Coun. Kari Gares threw her support behind the request.
“We don’t have a facility that offers these type of user groups the benefits of gymnastics,” said Gares. “Kin Race Track may very well be in the forefront (for a new facility) but we don’t know the timeline on that.
“I’m very happy with what you’re doing. It’s a great initiative getting kids out and active and beyond their borders.”
Gares and Coun. Kelly Fehr did have some questions about the request that staff will research and answer, then bring back to council for its next regular meeting on March 11.