Correspondence to Saltos after council’s decision to encourage the gymnastics club to apply for grants to improve the Town-owned building that the club leases. Part of the agreement is the club is responsible for the building, but the club says it is the only agreement of its kind in Smithers.

Correspondence to Saltos after council’s decision to encourage the gymnastics club to apply for grants to improve the Town-owned building that the club leases. Part of the agreement is the club is responsible for the building, but the club says it is the only agreement of its kind in Smithers.

BV Gymnastics community contributions not valued

Writer upset at Smithers council decisions on non-profit that invested so much in Town building.

Editor,

The Town of Smithers has spoken loud and clear that they do not value the efforts and community contributions of the Bulkley Valley Gymnastics Association (BVGA).

The Town is leaving the only non-profit organization in the Bulkley Valley that pays a lease with the hefty task of finding grant funding on their own to replace windows and doors for a leaky, uninsulated building that the Town of Smithers owns. The Town of Smithers does not have a large indoor recreation facility for children and youth to keep active, especially during the long winter months. BVGA provides this unique service to our community, partnering with BVCDC, SD54, homeschool groups and daycares throughout the year. BVGA is a volunteer-run organization that values growth, motor development, and healthy active lifestyles for our youth.

BVGA put $160,000 into building leasehold improvements, and paid this all with volunteer parent fundraising. The Town has not put a penny into the building in the 10 years that BVGA has leased the building, other than a heater that was condemned for three years before replacement. The heater was leaking gas for our children to breathe in, and forced the facility to shut down two years in a row during peak training season, mid-winter, due to no heat. The heater was finally replaced last week, but the club pays extraordinary utility bills due to the poor building envelope.

BVGA has accumulated over $250,000 in equipment over the past 25 years, and would love to see that equipment stay in Smithers, if there were ever reasons that the non profit organization could not operate itself. The Town has declined inheritance of the equipment.

These recent Town Council decisions are a major disappointment, and I feel do not represent the core values of our community.

Lara Collingwood

Smithers