A rendering of what the proposed climbing gym at Mary Hall might look like. The Kootenay Climbing Association hopes an online contest can help complete it.

Kootenay climbers seek online votes

Nelson climbers are trying their luck at winning an online voting contest for $50,000 in project funding from the Aviva Community Fund.

Nelson climbers are trying their luck at winning an online voting contest for $50,000 in project funding from the Aviva Community Fund.

Currently in the qualifying stage of the small projects category, the Kootenay Climbing Association needs to collect as many daily votes as possible between October 21 and November 4 for a chance to move on to the semi-finals. The ten projects with the most votes in each category will advance.

“We’re looking for support from the community at large,” said climbing association president Shawn Tasker. “It only takes a few seconds to vote and could help us get the funding we need to ultimately complete construction of an indoor climbing gym at Selkirk College.”

The Kootenay Outdoor Skatepark Society tried unsuccessfully to win large project funding from Aviva in 2010 and 2011. The first year they made it past the final round of voting but were passed up by judges who ultimately select the winners.

Tasker is hoping the small project category will be a little less competitive. “It’s hard to compete with animal shelters,” he remarked, referring to the type of projects going for the big money.

Still, there are more than 300 projects from across Canada with their eye on the same prize as the climbing association. Thirty small projects will go to the semi-finals (ten from each of three qualifying rounds) and ten will reach the judges after the final round. The winner will be announced at the end of January.

By then the first phase of construction on the climbing gym may already be complete, if all goes as planned.

Tasker said the association is currently firming up the project design and how it will divide up the building phases. The total cost of the project is estimated at $120,000 and about half the money is already in place through ongoing fundraising efforts.

“We have enough to start the first phase of building. If we get the Aviva funding, it would cover the costs to finish the rest,” he said.

The climbing association expects that by December they’ll take possession of their new space in the Mary Hall gym at Selkirk College’s Tenth Street Campus and construction will run a month or two, according to Tasker.

Nelson has been without a climbing gym since Gravity Climbing Centre closed in April 2012.

To support the climbing association bid for Aviva funding, go to avivacommunityfund.org/ideas/acf18120 beginning Monday and cast a vote daily.

Each person can vote for 15 projects per day. Other Kootenay-based organizations hoping to qualify for Aviva funding include the Castlegar bird shelter BEAKS and the Aqamnik School playground project in Cranbrook, both completing in the medium projects category, and Rossland Community Skatepark looking for large project funding.

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