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M.D. council denies funding to gymnastics club

Posted on January 29, 2014 by Taber Times

At its Jan. 14 meeting, Municipal District of Taber council has voiced its concerns about a funding request by the Taber Gymnastics Fitness Club (TGFC) for a new facility in which was rejected by council by a tight split vote.

The club has rented the Community Centre auditorium from the Town of Taber for the past 30 years. The TGFC has grown to serve approximately 150 – 200 children each session, running three sessions per year in the fall, winter and spring at 10 classes per session.

Problems currently faced by the TGFC in the current town auditorium facility include a lack of storage, issues involving stress to equipment with set-up and take-down, an inability to set up certain equipment due to the limitations of temporary use of the current facility, past problems pertaining to equipment with regard to other renters of the auditorium, and the lack of a foam pit for the progressing of gymnastic skill development. After exhausting a variety of possible facility options, the TGFC decided upon the construction of their own facility located in the downtown Yaner area. The TGFC researched where the best location would be, and decided upon the purchase of two vacant lots located at 5336 48th Avenue for $100,000.

The total estimated cost of the proposed facility is $535,500 (which includes the $100,000 purchase of two lots). Based on a percentage breakdown of student participation in classes offered by the TGFC (65 per cent Taber and 35 per cent M.D. of Taber), the club will also be seeking 35 per cent of the cost for the project from the M.D. of Taber, at a cost of $148,750.

“This is far too big of a number for me, and I’d say we’d have to pass,” said councillor Bob Wallace at council’s Jan. 14 meeting, adding it is a private enterprise. “If you ask me, this is too much. If there is a new proposal, we can look at that, but with 35 per cent funding from people outside of town, with utilization that could be Barnwell, 40-Mile  or wherever else, that’s not just here.”

Reeve Brian Brewin applauded the organization’s fundraising efforts to date and forward progress.

But struggled if the club blurs the line between a private/public enterprise.

Councillor Ben Elfring added with the gymnastics club owning the title to the land and being a non-profit organization, that is a huge financial contribution with few assurances.

“I’m not prepared to give that kind of financial contribution for a non-profit organization and with them owning the land. If something goes sideways, we’re out that money,” said Elfring.  

Given the overall lack of utilization of the Taber Community Centre auditorium in a given month according to Deputy Reeve Dwight Tolton, he wondered out loud if the town and club could not work together in solving the club’s storage problems.

“I just can’t see how you build a another facility, because those costs will come back, guaranteed,” said Tolton.

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