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New plans revealed for Nelson’s proposed climbing gym

Building is expected to be complete in late 2026

The vision for a proposed new multi-million dollar climbing gym in Nelson is moving from concept to reality.

Cam Shute and Brian Hansen of the Kootenay Climbing Association presented an update to Nelson City Council at its Jan. 23 meeting.

In August 2022, the City of Nelson agreed to lease the association a piece of land near Mary Hall on Selkirk College’s Tenth Street campus for $1 per year to build a new gym.

Shute and Hansen told council that since then the group has completed a schematic design for the building and will have a preliminary cost estimate by the end of February. Construction is expected to start, depending on fundraising, in the fall of 2026.

In 2022 the association told council that 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. That number has almost doubled again in the intervening years.

“Our current space is the area of three-and-a-half school buses,” Hansen told council on Jan. 23, “and we had 16,000 check-ins in the last operational year. We are extremely cramped.”

The Cube provides beginner-to-advanced training and drop-in programs for adults and kids, and also spring break camps and summer camps.

Hansen and Shute showed council an architect’s video rendering of what the outside and inside of the new gym might look like.

They were not asking anything of council for the new building, which they are calling Cube 2.0, but simply presenting an update to acknowledge the city’s contribution of the land.

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 Nelson Museum, Archives and Gallery.

The next steps in the project, Shute and Hansen said, are to complete a fundraising plan that would include soliciting the province and approaching potential major donors for amounts in the $250,000-plus range.

They said they are not yet able to give an estimate of the full project cost.

The design phase so far, and preliminary cost estimating, has cost about $80,000. Shute and Hanson said consultants and engineering firms contributed cut-rate services and many local businesses donated.

Cam Shute (left) and Brian Hansen of the Kootenay Climbing Association updated Nelson City Council on its plans for a new climbing gym on Jan. 23. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

All of the work on the building design — architecture, engineering, energy modelling, surveying, and geotech — was supplied by companies in Nelson and Castlegar.

“We did not have to go outside of Nelson to get this work done,” Shute said. “That really warmed our hearts, that we were able to work with local businesses on this.”

The planned new building will be constructed of mass timber, “using local resources to cut down on carbon footprint as well as using local talent and labour, all to be determined,” Hansen said.

The size and height of the new building will meet Olympic standards. Competition climbing first became an Olympic sport at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Hansen and Shute said Cube 2.0 would be the only comparable climbing gym between Calgary and Vancouver, but there are none in western Canada that would match Cube 2.0 in meeting competition requirements in all three types of climbing: speed climbing, lead climbing, and bouldering.


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

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

An architectural rendering of the proposed climbing gym to be built in Nelson at the Tenth Street Campus. Photo: Kootenay Climbing Association

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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