Build a Home for Gymnastics and Trampoline in New Westminster
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The collapse of the Queen’s Park Arenex on December 19th 2016 was a sad loss for the community of New Westminster. Since 1982, the Arenex had been home to New Westminster Parks and Recreation's Gymnastics and Trampoline, a program established in 1968.
The Gymnastics and Trampoline program is an integral part of the New Westminster community and an important building block in many of our children’s futures. Gymnastics provides the physical benefits of increased strength, agility, flexibility, and endurance. As well, research shows that this type of movement education opens up neural pathways in the brain, improving student concentration, focus, and performance. Studies also show that participating in gymnastics at any level positively affects children’s self-esteem, allows them to problem solve better, and builds their confidence overall.
Children who have participated in New West’s Gymnastics and Trampoline program have gone on to build bright futures, becoming incredible instructors themselves, winning world championships in trampoline, and becoming performers—and eventually coaches—for Cirque du Soleil.
Before the Arenex collapse, the Gymnastics and Trampoline program served 1200 registered and 1000 drop-in participants weekly. Since the loss of this gymnastics-dedicated space, New Westminster Parks and Recreation has used provisional facilities at various locations to continue Gymnastics and Trampoline programs in a limited manner.
Temporary facilities have had only the capacity to accommodate a fraction of the New West gymnastics program’s historical registration and drop-in numbers, with the lowest being a mere five per cent of these and the highest being about 50 per cent in the Spring 2018 session. Registration and drop-in numbers were higher for Spring 2018, thanks to Gymnastics and Trampoline being housed at the Royal City Curling Club that session. The space at the Curling Club is available until August 2018, after which there is no apparent plan for where Gymnastics and Trampoline programs will be held in any capacity.
In June 2017, City Council approved the development of a 24,000-square-foot “bubble” facility, which would consist of a stretched fabric membrane over a rigid frame, so that the Gymnastics and Trampoline program could run at full capacity by September 2018. Since then, however, New Westminsterites have not heard any news about the long-term plan for the future of Gymnastics and Trampoline, despite the fact that the program’s previous high-enrolment and drop-in rates demonstrate that this is an in-demand program in our city.
While plans for finding a space for the Gymnastics and Trampoline program have apparently stalled, the City is actively planning a $100 million replacement of Canada Games Pool and Centennial Community Centre. The current replacement plan for Canada Games Pool and Centennial Community Centre does not include a dedicated space for Gymnastics and Trampoline.
In order to retain and hire staff for the Gymnastics and Trampoline, it is imperative for the city to develop both short and long term plans for a space for this program. In the short term, we would like the city move forward with the plan to erect a bubble to house Gymnastics and Trampoline on the old Arenex site. In the long term, we would like the city to include a home for the Gymnastics and Trampoline program in its plans for the replacement of Canada Games Pool and Centennial Community Centre.
Please support the future of New Westminster’s Gymnastics and Trampoline program by signing our petition.
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