In an effort to increase usage and garner more financial return from the Mount 7 Rec Plex, the Town of Golden Recreation Department has been exploring the possibility of altering the space to allow for the Kicking Horse Gymnastics club to have semi-permanent usage of one side, while keeping the other side open for the facility’s many other user groups.
Manager of Recreation Services Jordan Petrovics presented council with a four-phased renovation proposal which would bring the building up to code, and give the gymnastics club what they need to leave their equipment set up. Constantly moving their equipment around is the reason the club moved to a different space four years ago.
“I’m a little stunned to see these numbers,” said Coun. Bruce Fairley. He had supported the idea of renovating the space to accommodate multiple users when it came up last year, but was surprised to see what the cost would be.
To complete all four phases, the total cost would be $1,230,000. However, Petrovics said that Phase 1 (at an estimated cost of $162,000), with a few additions, would likely be enough for the gymnastics club to be comfortable moving back into the Rec Plex.
In the event that council approves any level of renovations, they will likely seek out grant money to help cover it. But certain council members started to question whether splitting the Rec Plex space was the right decision, regardless of the price tag.
“I think this facility has much more value as a large space. It is a unique building in our community because it is the only one that can accommodate 600 people,” said Coun. Eddie Leigan, who had originally been supportive of looking into renovations. “I no longer want to split the space.”
The gymnastics club could potentially move their equipment to allow some of the facility’s larger annual events (such as the Christmas Craft Faire), but on a regular basis only half of the building will be available for events and activities.
The original purpose of splitting the space was to achieve a higher cost recovery from the Town’s recreational facilities. Council set that target at 30 per cent.
“You will not see a 30 per cent cost recovery on this building without an anchor tenant like the gymnastics club,” said Town CAO Jon Wilsgard.
Petrovics estimated the inclusion of the club, while still leaving the other half open for other regular users (including basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer and badminton, among others), would increase the building’s revenue by 70 per cent.
Coun. Caleb Moss was hesitant to make a decision one way or the other.
“I can’t really weigh in at this time because I have absolutely no idea where public opinion stands on this at the moment,” he said.
Without much headway made on which way council wants to go, they directed the recreation department to continue conversations with the gymnastics club to determine if phase 1 would be sufficient.