The Snowbirds Gymnastics Club ran into bad luck this summer with delays of entering their new building due to asbestos.
Town workers found the deadly fibers in the Teen Centre while renovating the building for the club, stopping all work until certified contractors can remove it.
The work still needs to go to tender, and once the asbestos is removed town workers still need to finish the renovations.
Tracy Critch, president of the club, said they were hoping to start full programs in September.
“We don’t know when we’ll get in. I haven’t heard any timelines or anything. We were hopeful for January, but I don’t know if that will be the case. Once you get into tenders it will be quite a process.”
The club is currently held in the gymnasium at JR Smallwood Elementary in Wabush, where it has been for the past five years. But with their time reduced to 7 ½ hours per week, Critch said it’s not enough.
“We took what we could get, but it’s barely enough to keep our competitives going, and not really enough for them to be training at the level they need to be. It’s certainly better than nothing.”
Critch said the plans to have the club as bustling as it was five years ago, when it had 150 registered, will have to wait. Last year the club had 25 registered.
“Right now we have our competitives back in, we’ll be starting our kip-kid program which is what we’ve been offering the past five years, it’s what’s feeding our competitive program. Our recreational will not be starting up until we get into the centre.”
“We took what we could get, but it's barely enough to keep our competitives going, and not really enough for them to be training at the level they need to be. It's certainly better than nothing.” - – Tracy Critch, president, Snowbirds Gymnastics Club
Critch said it’s been very disappointing for the kids, coaches, and parents.
“We were really excited. We had everything from parents to tots, with a lot of coaches and helpers lined up and in place. The lady who does coaches training from St. John’s was booked for September, and all that had to be put on hold.”
Last year’s funding announcement for the club to go into the Teen Centre brought a lot of support, but Critch said they unfortunately had to deny it until the mess is sorted out.
“Getting coaches has been tough. We had 12 people lined up for September, which we didn’t expect. Hopefully they’ll be available and willing when we do get the place. Right now there will be four, possibly five of us.”
With the club only offering competitive classes right now, try-outs will be held in the middle of October for children in Kindergarten to Grade 1.
Critch said the Teen Centre isn’t ideal, as the ceiling height will be an issue when the kids get older. However, they will be able to have it open seven days a week, with recreational gymnastics.
“Recreational is the one people are looking for most; it’s the fun, healthy, kids love it because they can jump and swing off stuff. It also feeds the competitive teams. It was a huge part of our club, and we want to build it back up.”