An athlete climbs the bouldering wall at Porter Creek Secondary School. Climb Yukon wants the City of Whitehorse to consider building its own wall.

Climb Yukon asks the City of Whitehorse for a boost up

A climbing facility in Whitehorse is the most requested new facility, says the city’s recreation plan

Climb Yukon appeared before Whitehorse City Council at the Feb. 18 standing committees meeting to request the city consider building a public climbing wall at the Canada Games Centre.

Samantha Li, vice president of Climb Yukon and one of the coaches of the Porter Creek High School climbing team, pointed out that in the 2018 City of Whitehorse Parks and Recreation Master Plan, 53 per cent of respondents identified a climbing gym as the new indoor facility they’d most like to have in the city.

A 2016 Climb Yukon public survey of 1,400 people found that 98 per cent of respondents were interested in having a climbing wall in the community. In that same survey, 96 per cent of respondents were interested in trying climbing and 85 per cent were willing to pay a yearly gym membership to access climbing facilities.

There are presently limited facilities at Porter Creek High School, said Li, but they are insufficient for the needs and wants of the climbing community. Drop-in climbing at Porter Creek “currently averaged 15 people a night and up to 30 on some days,” she said.

“It’s a lot of people to put on a high school stage,” she added.

“With the youth team climbing on the same days as drop in, some (kids) stay after practice, complete their homework and climb at (the) drop in until (the facility) closes,” she said.

How much money they would need “depends on the size of the facility” they would eventually build, Li said.

Additionally, 2019 is a Olympic qualifying year, and rock-climbing will be debuting as an olympic event in 2020 at the Tokyo Olympics, Li noted.

“This is one of the reasons why I am for a climbing facility – so that the kids on my climbing team can realistically dream of competing in events like the Olympics,” Li said.

Contact Lori Fox at lori.fox@yukon-news.com

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