By Lethbridge Herald on September 26, 2020.
The Lethbridge Gymnastics Academy says it is running into a roadblock from the City of Lethbridge in its attempt to expand its 1,600-square-foot facility into the two bays next to its business located at 3287 32 St. N. The Academy says the City’s parking policies are preventing them from expanding.
“The capacity of people allowed in our current space is 50,” says Andrea Seright, owner of Lethbridge Gymnastics Academy, in a news release. “The City of Lethbridge, based on our classification in the fitness facility category, requires us to have 27 off-street parking stalls. At the moment we have 26 off-street spaces.”
Seright added the City hasn’t taken into account that the Academy operates differently than a typical gym or facility.
“Our parking waiver that was submitted to the City indicated that parents typically do not stay for the duration of their children’s class so the 27 required units would never be in use. The City denied our request noting that hours of operation, occupancy, capacity, pick-up and drop-off requirements would not be taken into consideration.”
The proposed expansion would allow the Academy to accommodate 24 children at day camps with distancing measures in place, according to the release. Currently, the maximum children the facility can accommodate for day camps is eight. The expansion would allow the facility to hire additional staff, including a full-time manager, two to four additional gymnastics coaches and five-plus coach-in-training positions for teenagers looking to gain valuable job experience.
An appeal hearing over the parking waiver is planned for Oct. 1 at 6 p.m. Seright says she isn’t sure what they will do if they don’t receive the parking waiver.
“We have outgrown our current space and many of our classes are full. Gymnastics facilities require a ceiling height clearance of 20 feet and a number of other specifications to accommodate equipment. Our current building can accommodate these.”
The Academy is circulating an online petition to parents and children they coach to help make the case to the City for expansion. The petition can be found at http://chng.it/XRSmHPnTp9.
For more information, check the Academy’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/2741799982730162.