PEI

Island Gymnastics Academy looks to expand amid long wait lists

The Island Gymnastics Academy is celebrating its 40th year, and it’s looking to make a move.

No space for expansion at current Charlottetown location

The Island Gymnastics Academy is looking to move to Stratford. (Tony Davis/CBC)

The Island Gymnastics Academy is celebrating its 40th year, and it's looking to make a move.

The academy, which offers both recreational classes and competitive training, has made its home at the House of Sport in Charlottetown for the past 20 years. It's been a good place to be, said executive director Nick Murray, but they've outgrown the space.

"We have waiting lists right through for all of our pre-school, recreation and even competitive programs," Murray told Island Morning host Laura Chapin.

"We need to expand. There's no space for us to do it at the House of Sport."

The academy has just over 1,000 members, and wait lists in recent years have been between 150 and 200.

So it has turned its eyes to Stratford — in particular the town's community campus. Last fall, Stratford signed purchase agreements for 69 hectares of land to build a new high school and a number of recreational facilities. The academy is looking for one hectare, on a 50-year lease for $1 a year, for a purpose-built gymnastics facility.

It would be a significant expansion, with two gym floors as opposed to one.

'Gymnastics for life'

Murray said the academy currently has members ranging in age from one to 75.

"The emphasis is very much on gymnastics for life, not just just as a competitive sport but as a recreational activity for people," he said.

In an email to CBC News, the Town of Stratford said council is amenable to the proposal. It is going through a process of consulting with residents.

It would be a condition of the lease that the town would take ownership of the building after the lease term expires, or if the tenant goes out of business or defaults, to make sure the use of the building remains compatible with the purpose of the community campus.

With files from Laura Chapin

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