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Gymnastics club in need of new facility

Dear editor,The Airials Gymnastics Club is in desperate need of a new facility.

The Town of Gander provides very little in the way of funding to our non-profit organization. We pay rent to a private landlord. Gander minor baseball and soccer do not need to provide their own fields; ice sports do not need to build and maintain stadiums; swimming clubs do not need to build and maintain pools. Why should we have to provide and maintain our own facilities? Our valuable volunteer resources and fees have to go into paying rent and maintaining infrastructure, and, therefore, resources needed to develop our sport are lost.

We operate recreational services in Gander year-round, we serve 300 members annually, we have been in Gander for over 35 years, and we employ up to 20 employees per year. Yet, we are forced to operate in a facility that is half the size we need and does not meet the requirements of our sport because there is no option or funding available for us from the Town besides a small grant, which is not guaranteed from year to year.

If you get a chance to talk to one of our newly elected Town councillors please bring our concerns forward. Invite them to visit our facility and talk to our staff or board members. We are part of the Gander Multiplex plan and hope that project goes ahead in the future, but our need is immediate and we feel more support should be provided to our organization now. The Town maintains and owns a lot of recreational infrastructure, some used for only small portions of the year and used by fewer individuals than our facility services. One year, we asked the Town if we could have our garbage picked up during the summer months since their workers were collecting garbage from playgrounds and other places during those months. Anyway, that request was not even granted.

We pay over $30,000 a year in rent for a facility that does not meet our needs, plus we have to maintain it ourselves with other resources. Some say ice fees are equivalent or more for ice sports, true, but for their money they get a facility that meets their needs plus that facility is cleaned and maintained by Town employees.

We are only asking for equivalent support as other sports of similar size are getting from the Town. Please help get our message out there as we are providing a valuable service year-round to 300 children and youth in your community.


Joanne Power

Head coach of Airials Gymnastics

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