Proposal for new climbing facility home reaches new heights as focus narrows on plan
The effort to deliver the city’s next climbing centre is inching upwards as the campaign ascends from the design and cost estimate phase, searching for a hold on fundraising for construction.
The Kootenay Climbing Association (KCA) has now completed a schematic design of the building and the climbing wall — just wrapping up within the last few weeks — to provide a picture of what needs to be funded.
“So that (design) gives us an idea for where we need to go for fundraising and what we need to build this gym,” said KCA member Cam Schute. “(Construction) is 100 per cent dependent on how well fundraising goes over the next few years.”
However, a Class C estimate with full capital budget is still forthcoming, with an anticipated completion date in February, 2024. KCA is currently working with a fundraising consultant — made available through Columbia Basin Trust’s non-profit advisors program — to construct the plan.
The next steps include completing the strategic fundraising plan, soliciting the province for fiscal year-end funds (by March 31, 2024) and then soliciting major donors ($250,000 and above).
The final design and capital fundraising takes place in summer, 2024, while construction is tentatively set for fall 2026. Schute said there was a desire to do it as a mass timber build and partner with Kalesnikoff Lumber, using local resources to cut down on the carbon footprint.
In August, 2022, City council approved 820 Tenth St. as the location for the Cube 2.0 climbing facility following a KCA request in March for a building site — after conducting its own community survey with a petition of almost 1,500 signatures.
The City is handing over a parcel of land at the Tenth Street campus for free for the next 10 years — with the possibility of a renewal — while the club builds a new facility and continues to grow its membership.
City staff and the KCA engaged with Selkirk College on the proposed location, with Selkirk having submitted a letter of support.
Moving on up
The reason for the move is the climbing club has more than outgrown its current Selkirk College 10th Street campus location — the Cube Climbing Gym.
As a result, in March, 2022 the KCA board put together a plan, including financials, with an eye toward building a new indoor climbing facility, Cube 2.0.
Four potential sites were suggested, near Selkirk College’s Mary Hall making the short wish list.
KCA: who are they?
The Kootenay Climbing Association (KCA) is a registered, non-profit society that operates the Cube Climbing Gym in Nelson.
The Cube is the only climbing gym in the Nelson area. In addition to providing 280 square metres (3,000 square feet) of climbable surfaces, the Cube also runs after-school climbing programs for youth, adult programs like Women’s Wednesdays and local bouldering competitions.
For 11 years since it opened, the Cube has seen its usage more than double (from 4,000 climber check-ins annually to 9,000), and its annual membership increase more than 400 per cent. In the same time period, participation in after-school programs has increased 460 per cent (from 58 to 268 kids).
“Perhaps most notably, the Cube is unable to service all the interested youth in our community because it’s too small — in 2021, every youth program was filled with a wait list,” said KCA member Jayme Moye.
“The current facility is too small to accommodate Olympic-regulation rope-climbing walls and speed- climbing walls.”
KCA would be responsible for all cost associated with site permitting, preparation, construction and long-term maintenance and operations.
Source: Kootenay Climbing Association