Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics has gained national support as it fights to keep its training facility open.
Regional District of North Okanagan directors are expected to consider a plan today that would legalize the club on East Vernon Road although there is a recommendation to not permit the use because of zoning.
A number of residents and groups have rallied behind Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics during its conflict with RDNO.
“The provincial sports governing body stands unified in its support of coach Camille Martens and the tremendous work she does through Okanagan Rhythmics for the growth and development of the sport in B.C. and Canada, and for the amazing athletic opportunities she has made possible for girls and young women in Vernon and the surrounding areas for many years now,” said Joel Bernard, a B.C. Rhythmic Sportive Gymnastics Federation director, in a letter to RDNO.
“Were Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics be unable to continue to utilize their facility, it would definitely have an incredibly negative affect on the lives of these young gymnasts but also no doubt be a tremendous loss to the community of Vernon and the surrounding area as a whole. For all those reasons, I would respectfully like to ask all the members of the regional district to reconsider their current position and to approve the use of the Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics facility for the same purpose it have been used since 2009.”
Support has also come from Rhythmic Gymnastics Alberta
“My observation over the past 20 years is that Camille is an individual who should be supported by her community and her municipality/region for her business skills and contribution to the community, and for her impact on the lives of her gymnasts, and the coaches she trains and works with,” said Diane Gunn, RGA executive director, in a letter to RDNO.
“Vernon and the North Okanagan region are very blessed to have someone with her skill and ability stay in your region, rather than moving to a major city where she could easily dictate a substantial salary. She provides another source of tourism income, as we all try to get to Vernon for her special events. It is the hope of many of the Albertan coaches and gymnasts that you can find a way to help this small business survive and continue to thrive.”
Even if the RDNO board agrees to legalize the facility, final approval for the use must come from the Agricultural Land Commission, which oversees the Agricultural Land Reserve.
The board meeting is at 4 p.m. today at the RDNO board office on Aberdeen Road in Coldstream.