The Northern Edge Sport Association, formerly known as The Bulkley Valley Gymnastics Association, has a new sprung floor in their facility.
A sprung floor is basically a floor on springs that provides shock-absorption for activities such as tumbling.
The Smithers Saltos gymnastics team has been using the same gymnastics floor for more than 30 years.
Club President Lara Collingwood said many of their coaches trained on that floor when they were athletes.
The club has been fundraising for a new floor since 2018. Collingwood said due to unexpected pandemic obstacles, the club had to ensure operations were stable before committing to the purchase. The floor was purchased in February 2023, and was recently delivered and installed by Saltos volunteers and staff on Nov. 5.
The new floor cost $47,638. Wetsin’kwa Community Forest Corporation allowed the club to extend the deadline to complete this project, with its $15,000 grant contribution. The club raised the remaining $32,638 with raffles, bottle drives and additional small fundraising initiatives.
Bandstra Transportation Systems sponsored a large portion of the shipping costs for this equipment purchase.
“The sprung floor is a staple of the facility and is used by every program participant,” said Collingwood. “The sprung floor is used every day for every program: athletes, recreational and competitive gymnasts, fitness, cross-training camps, day camps, daycares, seniors groups and school groups.
The goals of the project were to provide a new sprung floor to allow all participants to participate in gymnastics and recreational activities without fear, she added.
“The athletes already compete in complicated series of leaps and flips, landing with high impact on the floor using their feet, hands, or their entire body. The danger zones on the floor are marked with white tape, and while everyone does their best to avoid these danger zones, it is not always possible. Inadvertently landing on a protruding spring results in immediate pain and serious injury.”
The project offers significant improvements in the gym environment and increased safety for all participants, Collingwood said.
“Participant safety is of utmost importance, as well as facility and equipment cleanliness. The new sprung floor will provide a clean and safe surface for all programming, and will increase the tumbling efficiency and performance for decades to come,” she added.
The gymnastics club is now fundraising for its Safety Matting Replacement Project, with a cost of $44,000. Collingwood said the mats currently in place have been used by the organization for over 30 years. Much of the current matting has compacted foam which no longer absorbs the impact of participants’ landings sufficiently.
“There are rips and tear in the seams, held together with duct tape,” she said. “Currently the matting is piecemeal with gaps between mats, and the organization has used what has been acquired over time. This matting is a staple of the facility and it is used by every program participant, every day.”
Safety matting is used for cushioning when landing from equipment such as beams, bars, trampolines, climbing ropes, rings, vaults, or boxes of different heights. Competition landing mats are recommended because they provide significant shock absorption for gymnasts sticking landings from equipment.
“The cushioning of the gym mats does not guarantee the prevention of injuries, but certainly will prevent an injury from becoming as serious as it may have been without this extra level of protection,” Collingwood said, adding this project will provide significant improvements in the gym environment and increased safety for all participants.
Wetzin’kwa Community Forest Corporation generously donated $13,000 toward this project in July 2023.