Yellowknife Gymnastics Club won’t be forgiven for $100K debt

Photo courtesy: The Yellowknife Gymnastics Club on Facebook.
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The Yellowknife Gymnastics Club won’t be forgiven for $101,008.51 it owes the city.

The request was shot down by council earlier this week, with Mayor Mark Heyck being the only one in support of forgiving the outstanding debt.

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The club had used funding from the city when building its facility in the Multiplex, but the project came in well over its original estimate. The money owed to the city stems from construction, storage and leasing costs.

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The club made the forgiveness request so that it could improve its facility and remain competitive with other local groups.

Mayor Mark Heyck.
Mayor Mark Heyck.

In shooting down the request, council said the Yellowknife Gymnastics Club hasn’t struggled to pay off its debt so far.

Councillors also rejected it in the name of fairness.

“I think that we need to continue investigating how we do deal with the different youth clubs in the city to ensure that we do have some sort of fairness,” said councillor Niels Konge.

Councillor Rebecca Alty agreed, adding that she’d be open to meeting with the club again if debt repayment becomes an issue.

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Councillor Steve Payne.
Councillor Steve Payne.

“If in the future this amount does become a challenge, I’d suggest that we get back together and discuss ways to proceed,” she said.

Councillor Steve Payne added: “While I do sympathize with the club looking for this funding, we have heard that making those payments wasn’t really a problem.

“If at any point in the future it does become a financial hardship, we welcome you back.”

Mayor Mark Heyck was the only one to vote in favour of forgiving the debt after handing off his position as chairperson.

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“[The club] has got some big plans to try to make their facility more accessible to Yellowknifers and to people who perhaps can’t afford it currently,” he said.

“They are clearly coming to the end of the life cycle of some significant pieces of equipment in the facility. By forgiving this debt, that would allow them to move ahead more quickly with their strategic plan.

“Financially, this decision would have a negligible effect on the city. It’s not a payment that we’ve been collecting or pursuing for several years now.”

Heyck says the Yellowknife Gymnastics Club has over 500 members and sees over 600 people come through its doors every week.

Administration also recommended forgiving the debt before councillors voted against the request.

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