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Nelson council approves land lease for climbing gym at 820 Tenth St.

Kootenay Climbing Association’s current Cube Climbing Gym can not meet public demand
An architect’s drawing of the Kootenay Climbing Association’s planned new gym. Photo: Submitted

Nelson City Council, at its Aug. 9 meeting, agreed to lease city land at 820 Tenth St. to the non-profit Kootenay Climbing Association (KCA) for the nominal price of $1.00 per year.

The KCA will use the land to build a new climbing gym, having grown out of its current location at The Cube in Mary Hall on the Selkirk College Tenth Street campus.

At a council meeting on March 22, KCA presented council with several possible city-owned locations for its planned new facility. Those locations were 824 Front St., 209 Hall St., 719 Vernon St., and 820 Tenth St. These locations were recommended in a site study by an architect commissioned by KCA.

KCA asked council for a lease commitment at one of those locations so it could proceed with a $4.2 million fundraising campaign to construct the new building.

City planners agreed to look into the feasibility of those locations and came back to council on Aug. 9 recommending the Tenth Street location because:

• The KCA already has developed a successful relationship with Selkirk College in its current location at Mary Hall

• The college has agreed to write a letter of support for the association’s fundraising

• The site will have fewer development challenges than the other locations

• KCA sees an opportunity to expand their programs because of the proximity of the Tenth Street location to the climbing crag on Svoboda Road and by partnering with Selkirk College and LV Rogers Secondary School for academic programs.

The Tenth Street location is a piece of vacant land behind 820 Tenth St., fronting on Fell Street.

Planning staff said that in making the recommendation they considered land use compatibility, design compatibility, traffic impact, transportation options, ease of development, and compatibility with zoning and the Official Community Plan.

The NCA also asked for a letter of support from the city to assist in its fundraising, to which the city also agreed at the Aug. 9 meeting. The lease agreement will run for ten years with the possibility of renewal.

Since it opened in 2014, the Cube Climbing Gym at Mary Hall has doubled its usage from 4,000 climber check-ins annually to 9,000. Its annual membership has increased more than 400 per cent.

The KCA site study states that in 2021 every youth program filled up with a wait list. The study also says that the current facility is too small to accommodate Olympic regulation rope-climbing walls and speed-climbing walls.

The City of Nelson often leases land or buildings to non-profit organizations for $1 per year. Examples are the Capitol Theatre, Selkirk College, and Touchstones museum.


• New climbing gym pitched for downtown Nelson

Kootenay Climbing Association pitches Nelson city council on locations for new home

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Bill Metcalfe

About the Author: Bill Metcalfe

I have lived in Nelson since 1994 and worked as a reporter at the Nelson Star since 2015.
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