Plans for gym festival in Wanaka

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A gymnastics festival will strengthen Wanaka’s connection with gymnastic groups across Central Otago.

Rae Paterson, of Aspiring Gymsports in Wanaka, said she was planning a festival which would bring together school-aged gymnasts from Alexandra, Cromwell and Wanaka.

“It may not necessarily be a competition, but it is like a showcase of gymnastics in the area.

“But we will also be running smaller round-robin competitions between the three clubs.”

The festival would raise the profile of gymnastics in the area, Ms Paterson said.

Cromwell Gymnastics Club committee member Anthea Lawrence said it was a “great idea” and was looking forward to hearing more about it.

“It is a good idea to get all the different clubs together, and the kids enjoy it.”

It was an opportunity for children to showcase what they had been learning, she said.

Alexandra Gymnastics Club chairwoman Rewa Robertson said it was good to get the clubs working together and she was looking forward to more discussions on the planning of the festival.

Committee member Kerry Earland also welcomed the festival plans.

“It is great that we get a local competition as the competitions in Dunedin and Invercargill are getting extremely large and our members enjoy participating in something local rather than travelling so far,” she said.

Gymnastics had experienced strong growth in Wanaka, with membership more than doubling in four years, Ms Paterson said.

“But it is really difficult to grow more because of the limitations we have in the gym.”

The club rented commercial space in Reece Cr and offered classes “right from preschool to adult gymnastics”.

But they were restricted by the size of their gym and were looking at finding a space 25m by 30m “the size of a basketball court”.

This would be about four or five times the size of their current space.

“We believe we are the only sports club paying commercial rents for premises,” Ms Paterson said.

The club was hoping to be one of the groups that could be accommodated by expansion at the Wanaka Recreation Centre (WRC).

WRC manager Jason Lawless said $3.66million for further work at the centre was available in the current three-year cycle of the 10-year long-term plan.

Sport and recreation community groups had been consulted and provided with an opportunity to contribute to either the Sports and Recreation Facility Strategy or the Community Groups and Facilities Survey, he said.

Both indoor space and outdoor sports fields were key elements needed across the district.

Benefits of further expansion at the WRC included “future-proofing for the growth of Wanaka’s population and addressing both current and long-term facility needs of sport and recreation groups and other community organisations”.