New gym project looks unlikely for Tofino

A new indoor recreation facility looks to have fallen off Tofino’s horizon.

A new indoor recreation facility looks to have fallen off Tofino’s horizon.

Tofino’s district office has spent the past several years putting together a $10 million development plan that would have included a gymnasium near the community hall, but was recently notified that its $7 million grant application to help pay for the project was denied by the federal government.

“It was disappointing for sure. It was a project that a large part of the community supported and a lot of work had went into,” the district’s manager of community sustainability Aaron Rodgers told the Westerly News.

With that grant off the table, Rodgers suggested the $10 million project is unlikely to gain traction in the near future.

“The understanding that we were operating on was that, if we didn’t receive grant funding for this project, then it would not move forward. So, that’s where we’re at today,” he said “It doesn’t make any sense for us to do the project at that cost. We just can’t afford it as a community the size that we are…It’s been identified for probably many decades at this point as a necessary project, but not necessary at all costs and the economic realities are the economic realities; we have to respect that.”

He added the gym pursuit, which included roughly $116,000 of design and cost estimate work budgeted for in 2018, will not go to waste as a detailed shelf-ready plan was produced, though he doubted many grants will become available in the coming years as provincial and federal coffers are being drained by vital COVID-19 response strategies.

“We did a lot of work and a lot of that work will have a fairly long shelf life,” he said. “Obviously, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, that may be a ways off…I have a feeling that the next five to ten years, possibly the next generation, will look a lot different than it has recently in terms of granting.”

He added that if the grant application had been successful, a referendum would have been held to ensure Tofino’s residents still considered the project necessary.

“If it wasn’t something that the community had identified as something it wanted to do, then we wouldn’t have gotten as far as we did with it,” he said.

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READ MORE: Tofino gymnasium cost estimate jumps to $10 million

READ MORE: Gymnasium still a need in Tofino

READ MORE: Tofino not backing out of Multiplex project for now

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