History of the Co-op

An historically archived timeline of our ‘coming-to-be’. Scroll down for photos of the construction phase.

Summary:

  • Summer 2015 – The idea for a co-op gym forms amongst Kevan, Luke, and Tracy, and a project is born…
  • September 2015: Found an awesome place to build the gym, which is in the Townsite (in large building being renovated across from Townsite Brewing; former Powell Stores building)
  • October / November 2015: Campaigned to raise $15,000 needed to have the wall architecturally designed. Successfully raised this money through sponsors and individual donations! Woohoo!
  • December 2015: Applied for Powell River Community Forest Grant
  • March 2016: Officially incorporated as a non-profit community co-op
  • April 2016: Completed and finalized the design of the climbing wall (working with the company High Performance Climbing Walls); found out that we can add some roped climbing to the facility, which is very exciting and was not originally planned
  • May 2016: Successfully received the Forestry Grant for $167,000 to cover the building of the climbing wall
  • July 2016: Construction of the climbing wall began and was completed in early August! Click here for pictures!
  • October 2016: Received a second grant from PR Community Forest and the City of Powell River for $46,000, which is to cover the costs of finishing the space and getting the gym to operational level (things like flooring, bathrooms, computer, electrical, etc)
  • November 2016 Onward: Doing everything we can as fast as we can to finish the space, alongside the contractors who are finishing the building.
  • September 2017 – Still waiting for the building to get finished and obtain its long awaited occupancy permit before we can open. Unfortunately construction delays have been lengthy.
  • June 2018 – Still waiting for occupancy, but hopes are high this month will be the month.
  • October 2018 – This is the month! The building finally gets occupancy, we receive the rest of our grant money, and an opening date is set for December 1st.

Detailed Version:

In 2015, we found a wonderful space to build the gym. This is the former Powell Stores building in the Townsite, across from Townsite Brewing and the Patricia Theatre.

The yellow building on Ash Street in Townsite will be the location of our hopeful climbing gym
This building on Ash Street in Townsite is the location of our climbing gym. Yep, this is what it looked like before its makeover!

This large building is getting a complete renovation and will soon house a plethora of exciting businesses including our climbing gym.

The developer of the building, Steven Brooks, has a successful track record already in the community and is extremely enthusiastic about our project.

Phase One Fundraising – A Success!

The next step in the process was to purchase a professional design from an engineering company that specializes in climbing gyms.

This company would create us a custom architectural design to tailor our needs, and then we would hand this over to contractors to build the wall on which you’ll be climbing.

This first step was of utmost importance in order to ensure the wall will be fun and appropriate for all ages, not to mention sturdy and safe. The design cost approximately $15,000.

In October and November of 2015, we were successfully able to fundraise this money from members of the Powell River community! Way to go PR 🙂

Thank you sincerely to all of you who supported this first phase of the project.

We Have Now Completed the Design Process

In December 2015, we started the design work with High Performance Climbing Walls, a Vancouver company that has successfully completed dozens of projects.

At the end of April this year, we finalized the gym design and now have 3D drawings to show you what the future facility will look like! Check out the Our Planned Facility page to see them.

We also found out something very exciting… part of our gym will now be roped climbing!

Originally we were only going to have bouldering (low level unroped climbing), as there were no available buildings in Powell River that are tall enough to house a full sized roped facility.

Although most of the gym will still be bouldering, a modification to our existing space has allowed us to accommodate some full length roped routes.

Receiving the Powell River Community Forest Grant

The construction of a bouldering wall in Boone, North Carolina
The construction of a bouldering wall in Boone, North Carolina

Although we had raised enough money to purchase a design, the big question was still “how are we going to cover the entire cost of construction?”

After having estimated our construction costs, we expect these costs to be around $170,000 give or take.

This money will go towards: building materials, paying contractors to construct the wall, the specialized crash mats, climbing holds, climbing shoes, and other miscellaneous costs.

This is, of course, a large sum, and we didn’t expect we would be able to raise this single handedly from community members in any short amount of time.

Instead we began looking into various grants, and there is one in particular that became the make or break: The Powell River Community Forest Grant.

The Powell River Community Forest gives generous amounts of money each year to community projects exactly like ours. They have given over $500,000 for the bike park, $200,000 for tennis court resurfacing, $120,000 to the gymnastics club, $100,000 for the curling club, amongst others.

After sending in our detailed application, and much patient waiting, we finally have the fantastic news:

Powell River Community ForestWe are very very VERY excited to announce that on May 5th, we officially received the yes on the Forest Grant for $167,000!!

Thank you SO much to the Community Forest Board and the City of Powell River for believing in our project. We could not be more grateful.

Construction of the Wall Completed!

As a result of receiving the funds from the Community Forest, we were able to go ahead and start construction.

High Performance Climbing Walls got to work in mid July 2016 and completed construction of the wall in early August!

We are so, SO excited to see this project come to life. Thanks to all the volunteers who helped with construction!

Photos from the build out:

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Doors Opening in January 2017! (not)

After the wall was finished in August 2016, we saw more clearly which costs were standing in the way between where we are and what needs to be done before opening the doors.

Unfortunately when all was tallied, the cost of finishing the space came to a lot more than we were originally expecting, amounting to around $46,000.

Luckily the City of Powell River and the Forestry Board came to our rescue and has officially extended us a further grant for this money. So another huge thank you to them for funding this project! 🙂

Now it’s just a race to finish the space, and we will opening as soon as we possibly can in the new year of 2017  (post dated note: didn’t happen…..)

How quickly this happens depends on how fast we can get our work done alongside the local contractors who are working on bringing the building to occupiable level. Things do tend to take longer than think with construction, so we’re hoping for the best.

Either way, we have greatly appreciated everyone’s support though this whole process and cannot wait to open the doors and share with you the fruits of our labour!

The Waiting Game

So after that, things didn’t exactly go to plan. The building, which we were initially told would be finished shortly, ended up taking about two years to complete.

This was problematic both financially and personally. One reason being that we actually weren’t able to access the bulk of the Community Forest grant money until building occupancy went through (an issue since we owed a lot of contractors a lot of money). We’ll spare you all the sob details though.

After a whole lot of “Hey when’s the gym opening?” from everyone we ran into for two years (and a big shrug from us each time), it’s exciting to finally have some good news to report.

The building finally received it’s occupancy permit, we received the bulk of the grant money in October, and we’ll be opening now in December 2018. For real this time! Wooohoo!! 🙂

Thanks to everyone who’s been a part of this journey and supported us along the way! See you at the gym, PR!

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