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Climbing on board the Kootenay Climbing Association plan

The first drawings of the proposed climbing wall at Mary Hall on Nelson
The first drawings of the proposed climbing wall at Mary Hall on Nelson's Tenth Street Campus.
— image credit: image submitted

With patience comes a silver lining. That appears to be the case with climbing wall advocates.

It’s been just over a year since the Gravity Climbing Centre announced it would be closing its doors at its Victoria Street location. The move by the Gravity owners rocked climbing advocates in the Nelson area. Faced with the prospect of no indoor training facility, the search for a location was on.

Hitching its wagon to the promising Downtown Athletic Club plan in the then-idle Civic Theatre seemed like a practical choice. But by autumn those hopes were dashed due to a flurry of support to save the movie screen in the city-owned building.

On Monday night the Kootenay Climbing Association unveiled a new plan for a portion of the Mary Hall gymnasium that at first glance looks like the perfect fit.

By taking an unused portion of the Tenth Street Campus space, climbers may help establish that location as a recreation hot spot.

In the late-1990s the Canadian International College pulled out of the Fairview campus and it seemed like that corner of the community was doomed. Selkirk College injected new life into the facility and over the last decade Upper Fairview has become revitalized. Last year’s completion of the new dorms and the addition of the Shambhala Music and Performance Hall has further enlivened the area.

Adding a climbing component to the growing recreation programming at the Tenth Street Campus makes sense. It provides the core climbing community its outlet, has a potential captive audience with out-of-town students and gives the untried another reason to check out the campus.

The fight over the Civic Theatre may have created hard feelings with recreation lovers who coveted the downtown space. But it now seems like that battle was a blessing in disguise. We hope the Kootenay Climbing Association is able to bring its plan to fruition so the entire community can benefit.


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