SHARE

Wanaka gymnasts are turning cartwheels at the thought of having more training space in Wanaka’s old Mitre10 building but still have hoops to jump through before they can move in.

On Monday, the Queenstown Lakes District Council called for expressions of interest from sports clubs wanting space in the new facility, which should be fully operational by June 2023.

The council has set aside $4.5 million in the 2022›23 annual plan to refit the building.

However, Aspiring Gymsports chairwoman Prue Beams says the club did not want to wait that long.

Last Thursday she asked for a $30,000 annual plan grant to help the club cover ‘‘affordable’’ rent in commercial premises beyond July 1 this year.

‘‘We desperately need more space. We are using three spaces, Wanaka Primary School, the Wanaka Recreation Centre and our own gym, so the earlier [the move] the better for us,’’ Mrs Beams said.

The council began leasing the former hardware and garden centre at 35 Plantation Rd from its owner, Allan Dippie, on May 1.

Sport and recreation manager Simon Battrick said on Monday the council wanted to find out the needs of a broad range of groups who might like to use it.

The council has already agreed to set aside dedicated areas for Kahu Youth and Aspiring Gymsports, who will be anchor tenants.

There will also be two bookable, multi-use indoor courts and a studio for dance, yoga and fitness classes, or meetings.

Mr Battrick said the fit›out would start soon but overall space was limited.

The expressions of interest process would help the council assess demand fairly and ensure it could cater for a wide range of groups and activities, he said.

Mrs Beams said the gymsports club was grateful the council had obtained a 10›year lease on the building but ‘‘gutted’’ it would not be ready to use in July.

The club was paying $60,000 a year in rent at its existing gym, but found that amount ‘‘unaffordable’’.

In anticipation of the move, the club had hired coaches and spent about $60,000 on new equipment.

Now it felt ‘‘stalled’’.

It needed a firm timeline and commitment to move in, and a $30,000 grant would help pay rent on the club’s existing premises until December, Mrs Beams said.

She noted other clubs had received annual plan grants in the past, and the cost of maintaining one council football field was about $130,000.

Councillor Niki Gladding acknowledged Mrs Beams’ frustration and asked if a grant was made, whether any of it could be used on fit›out, if it turned out the club could start using the building early.

Mrs Beams said the club could do that.

The council is scheduled to adopt annual plan decisions on June 30.