The Gravity Climbing Centre has been given a notice to leave its current location on Victoria Street by April.

The Gravity Climbing Centre has been given a notice to leave its current location on Victoria Street by April.

Climbing community gathers in effort to save indoor facility

Local climbers are rallying together after the recent announcement of the closure of the Nelson climbing gym.

As a result of the recent announcement of its closure, dozens of locals in the climbing community gathered with one focus — to save the Nelson climbing gym.

“We’re at the beginning of the process of just trying to figure out a path forward,” said Shawn Tasker, a local climber and current spokesperson for the new initiative to save the climbing centre.

So far, the climbing community has made a petition at the climbing centre that they will present to the new occupants of the building, which will ask that a lease extension be granted to the Gravity Climbing Centre currently set to be evicted by April.

“People can come down and sign the petition… it’s asking the new owners to give an extension on the lease, but we also want to use the petition to show how much support there is for a climbing centre in this city so there’s an understanding that it’s not just a small body of people — like the 60 people who showed up to our meeting — we’re probably talking hundreds of people who would love to see that kind of facility remain,” said Tasker, who has been climbing for the past 25 years.

At this point, Tasker said they’re on the hunt for venues and partners, but it is proving to be a difficult task.

“Organizations that do provide the community with services are basically being priced out of the market in Nelson,” he said.

“With the skyrocketing property values, it’s no surprise that whoever owns the building at Gravity got to the point where it’s more equitable for them to rent it off to somebody who can pay that [high rate].”

Tasker said that in the future they will be approaching several larger organizations to discuss the possibility of partnerships as well as potentially forming a multi-use facility with other community groups in a similar situation.

“There’s been nobody that has the capital to take it on as a business for a few reasons, including the fact that now there’s no venue… It’s a hard sell at that kind of level and that’s why we want to look at these other structures like co-op or non-profit, or public even as potential ways to go through and have a climbing facility.”

Tasker says there’s enough to be done on the matter that there’s going to be a need for multiple committees to form.

“We really do need volunteers that are interested in working on these matters so that we can form some committees to start searching out for venues, research organizational structures and seek out funding.”

The current climbing facility appeals to not only the avid climber seeking to train for the outdoor season, but to youth and children who are seeking out a fun positive recreational activity.

“People come here because they feel it’s a great place to raise their children and if we keep cutting away at things that children do, like having a movie theatre or having a climbing gym or racquetball centre, whatever is it… if we keep losing them then we’re really starting to affect the livability of this community,” said Tasker, adding that having a climbing facility can also affect the appeal of a community for tourism.

“There’s going to be one less option for birthday parties, there’s going to be one less option to send your kid to for an after school program, there’s going to be one less fitness regime for people coming to the town and looking to try new things.”

For those wanting to get involved with the initiative, contact Shawn Tasker at help@savethenelsonclimbinggym.com or sign the petition at the Gravity Climbing Centre on Victoria Street.