Gymnastics Club facing 66 per cent facility hike 

May require municipal funding to meet operating costs

After months of waiting and worrying, the Oros Whistler Gymnastics Club at last received a more detailed accounting of costs for the new facility that they've occupied since August.

And according to the numbers the club could be facing a 66 per cent increase in facility costs for the club.

At that level, the gymnastics club will not be able to continue to lease the space and will be forced to look for another facility. However, walking away from the facility would also mean walking away from $2 million in funding to build the facility that was provided by the Resort Municipality of Whistler.

"We could only occupy the space if we received enough grant money to offset the increased amount and the problem with that is that we would have to go year-by-year as the grants are not predictable these days," said Sandi Wentzel, who has been hired by Oros Whistler Gymnastics to negotiate their lease and increase the number of user groups in the facility.

"We are forever increasing our programming and our access bookings to offset costs, but our population is limited."

Whistler 2010 Sports Legacies (W2010SL), which operates the facility and will own it in the future through an agreement with the municipality, has kept the operating costs for the facility to $55,000 for the 2010-2011 season, honouring the $52,000 estimate that the club was given in November 2009 before any of the costs for the facility were known.

With the new Harmonized Sales Tax applied, that comes to $61,600 for this year - almost three times what the club previously paid to rent gym space at Spring Creek Community School on a part-time basis.

While the gymnastics club can afford the 2010-2011 amount with the help of grants and fundraising, the 2011-2012 season is shaping up to be a different story with the gymnastics club now facing a potential surge in costs of up to $83,884, based on W2010SL estimates for operating the building, or $93,954 after HST.

Whistler Gymnastics is working with W2010SL to get a complete breakdown of utility costs, which make up the bulk of their costs per square foot. As for the W2010SL, they only recently took control of the High Performance Centre and other Whistler Olympic legacies, and can so far only make estimates on what the costs will be over an entire year of operation.

According to Keith Bennett, the CEO of W2010SL, they have yet to receive any utility bills for the centre, but should have a more accurate accounting of costs in the next 30 to 60 days. It's possible that the costs will be lower than the numbers they provided the club.

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