Flicka Gymnastics Club held a press conference October 1st, 2018 to draw attention to the substantial facility challenges our club and the sport of gymnastics is facing here in North Vancouver.
The press conference addressed:
The current plans for new $237 million Harry Jerome Recreation Centre
The exclusion of Flicka Gymnastics Club from the new facility
And the need for more equitable treatment of our over 2200 mostly female athletes
With a over 1800 female athletes registered each year, Flicka Gymnastics Club is 2nd only to soccer in North Vancouver when it comes to providing young girls with the opportunity to participate in sport. With a total of 2200 athletes, our club is the 3rd largest sports organization in North Vancouver behind only the two soccer clubs.
But while all the other sports who are much smaller in size are supported with substantial public funds that build new fields, multiple swimming pools, new ice arenas and curling rinks. Our club has been told that our athletes must fund gymnastics facilities without the assistance of public funds. This position was formally ratified by municipal politicians when then passed a motion that stated:
"That the Commission recommend that any consideration of provision of a gymnastics space as part of an existing or new Community Recreation Centre be on the basis that the club pay the construction and operating costs for all dedicated space"
North Vancouver Recreation Commission
November 29th, 2010
This public position above taken in 2010 by the North Vancouver Recreation Commission was publicly ratified by a the City of North Vancouver just a few months ago.
At its July 2018 meeting, the city council was in the process of approving $237 million budget for the new Harry Jerome Recreation Centre. The Mayor passionately expressed the need to support Flicka Gymnastics Club with a relatively tiny amount of public funds to assist with the club's relocation ($1.8 million of the total 237 million).
The motion was tenaciously defeated 4 to 3 and, from the perspective of our club, the message was once again very clear. Specifically, local elected and appointed officials do not believe gymnasts are eligible for public funds in the way many other sports with substantial levels of male participation remain very much eligible.
It is worth pointing out that the $237 million included such items as:
$350,000 for a temporary skate park
$2,463,000 for a blank space to retrofit the curling rink into a regular sheet of ice***
$3,000,000 for the temporary relocation of the seniors centre
$6,500,000 for the relocation of the lawn bowling club (200 user)
$16,753,000 for a new curling rink (estimate 200-300 users)
$10,000,000 to Expand from a 25 metre pool to 50 Meter Pool
***(the City of North Vancouver expects curling to fail to reach participation level that would warrant keeping a curling rink)
Councillor Back was quoted in the North Shore News as saying:
“I know curling died out, but I honestly do believe it’s coming back,” she said,
explaining the ice could be converted into a hockey rink if demand from curlers falters.
Our club believes that gymnasts and female athletes in Canada are deserving of equal treatment by publicly funded bodies responsible for the provision of sports and recreation facilities and has been compelled to take a stand for gymnasts and female athletes.
It is worthwhile pointing out that before planning started on the new Harry Jerome project, all of the potential main user groups were asked to raise funds to help offset the capital cost for re-development. Importantly, Flicka Gymnastics Club raised $1 million and offered these funds to council - Flicka was the only user group to raise funds in support of the capital costs.
Flicka currently pays rent around $100,000 each year for use of the old curling rink in the current Harry Jerome Recreation Facility. Our club is expected to maintain all our equipment and facilities; while other sports are supported with operational staff to clean an operate ice rinks, chlorinate pools and keep swimmer safe, or cut grass and maintain sports sports fields. We are expected to pay for the equipment and cleaning of the facility with no assistance from public funds.
While many sports have seen declining numbers over the past few years, our registrations continue to grow at a fast pace. and we have to take extraordinary efforts to try and minimize waitlists.
North Vancouver Minor Hockey registered just 875 players last year and have access to 5 ice sheets in North Vancouver. This is a decline of 10% over the previous years and the volunteers at minor hockey project a continuing decline.
Th sport of curling has historically struggled to get more than 300 participants in North Vancouver and as currently planned will have a new $18 million curling rink at the new Harry Jerome.
The swimming community has a plethora of facilities to choose from including a brand new 25m pool just 5 minutes away a the new Delbrook Community Centre. The new Harry Jerome is planned to include a new 50m pool.
Conversely, gymnasts in North Vancouver have access to just a single facility where they can train and that will be bulldozed in less than 4 years.
With all this in mind, Flicka Gymnastics Club launched a public relations campaign to see a gymnastics facility included in the new Harry Jerome Recreation.
We are asking residents of North Vancouver to:
Exercise your right to vote in support of candidates who will support Flicka’s inclusion in the planned $237 million Harry Jerome Recreation Centre.
Visit this website– created for you – to learn what each candidate has expressed regarding Flicka and our hopes for a new home,. It also includes additional information about our club’s exclusion from the new facility. We will be updating daily as we secure commitments and comments from each candidate.
To share this information with any friends or family who live on the North Shore and ask them to exercise their right to vote in support of a new home for Flicka.