Cube Climbing Gym opened in 2015, but the people who run it say a new facility is needed to accommodate its growing membership. Photo: Tyler Harper

New climbing gym pitched for downtown Nelson

The Kootenay Climbing Association says it has outgrown The Cube

Local climbers want to reach new heights in Nelson.

The Kootenay Climbing Association, which operates Cube Climbing Gym at Selkirk College’s Tenth Street Campus, is pitching a new Olympic-size facility next to the Nelson and District Community Complex.

A preliminary plan for the estimated $2-million to $3-million project was presented at a Recreation Commission meeting Tuesday.

The Cube opened in January 2015, but association treasurer Cam Shute said a larger facility has always been planned for.

“That was our original vision. But we also had to establish ourselves and cut our teeth and be viable, so we started small,” said Shute. “[The plans are] just an evolution of the next thing we want to take on.”

The current gym’s success is driving the need for a bigger facility.

Shute said the association projects 8,500 individual visits in 2020. Although the gym is open seven days a week, it is forced to close four months each year to be in line with Selkirk College’s academic calendar.

Nelson Rocha, an architect on the association’s expansion committee, says the gym’s Fairview location also limits the number of walk-in visitors.

“Any tourist who comes into this town doesn’t even know about the climbing gym because of where it’s situated,” said Rocha. “It’s just too tucked up.”

There’s also reason to believe another bump in climbing’s popularity is about to happen.

The sport will make its Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games in July with bouldering, lead and speed events.

But because the Cube doesn’t have Olympic size walls — speed and lead events require a nearly 16-metre wall — the gym isn’t able to develop future athletes.

“Bouldering in the area is really taking off right now, too,” said president Shawn Tasker. “There’s a new wave of climbing interest in that sub-discipline, which climbing gyms cater really well to. … We’re pretty confident that if we were able to open a facility year round we would be relatively successful in that endeavour.”

The current site at Selkirk College was settled on after the privately owned Gravity Climbing Centre gym was evicted from its location and shut down in 2012. The Kootenay Climbing Association was established in 2013 and at one point tried to set up a new gym in the Civic Centre before the theatre returned to operations.

The group cautioned their plan is still early and will need to clear several hurdles.

Shute said a business plan will be finalized in February, and after that the association will make a presentation to city council. The group is eyeing is a city-owned undeveloped lot at 824 Front St. next to the NDCC.

The pitch to the Recreation Commission, which is comprised of city councillors and Regional District of Central Kootenay directors, was for political support.

Shute said, when the time comes, he isn’t concerned about funding a new gym.

“We’re quite confident in finding the money. We’re all really driven. We’ve been doing it for seven years and we’re not giving up.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Olympicsrock climbing

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

52,000 reasons to walk in the cold

Nelson CARES raises over $52,000 at Coldest Night fundraiser

Supreme Court of Canada will hear Sinixt appeal May 12

B.C. has appealed Indigenous hunting case through several levels of court starting in Nelson in 2016

COLUMN: Fighting for the right to read whatever you want

A column on the first children’s book to deal with LGBTQ matters

Shuttle service at Trail hospital will remain for now

“ … shuttle service will remain in place while work on the new drop-off area … continues.”

VIDEO: Feds warned agricultural sector near ‘tipping point’ due to blockades

Canadian Federation of Agriculture points to lack of propane and feed due to Coastal GasLink dispute

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

UPDATE: 14 arrested at blocked rail line in northern B.C., police say

But a Gitxsan hereditary chief says 14 were arrested, as fight over natural gas pipeline continues

Hospital parking fees needed, but changes to payment system possible, health minister says

B.C. health minister Adrian Dix says hospital parking doesn’t need to be so stressful

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

IHOP to host seventh annual National Pancake Day

IHOP will be offering free short-stack pancakes in support of BC Children’s Hospital on Tuesday

Do you talk to your spouse about money? 42% of Canadians don’t, poll suggests

Politics, sex, religion top list of taboo subjects for Canadians

Okanagan animal sanctuary seeks to fit frostbitten baby goat with prosthetic leg

Fundraiser started to help Zuri, newest resident of Twin Hearts Animal Sanctuary

Most Read