Nine-year-old Queenstown gymnast Sydney Alva has made an urgent plea to mayor Jim Boult for a high-class gymnasium at Frankton.
The Queenstown Primary School student writes: “My first point is that the current gymnasium is inadequate and we need a bigger space for the gym facilities.
“My second point is that the Queenstown Gymnastics Club is absolutely fantastic.”
Sydney – whose mayoral letter was prompted by the council’s Frankton masterplanning process – says her step-two gymnastics team all won medals, as well as ‘top team’, at a recent competition.
However: “Due to our insufficient gym we hardly have any coaches with us and our training suffers from this.”
Sydney, whose email last week included about 20 signatures of support, points out a step-seven club member has to travel to Invercargill every week to train in a larger facility.
“So we need to train in a bigger space with facilities to encourage our successful gymnasts.”
An agreement between Queenstown’s council and the Ministry of Education has enabled the club to continue using the former Wakatipu High School site on a short-term basis, potentially for another 12-18 months.
Committee member Debbie Hutton’s grateful for the council’s support, but says “unless we have something more permanent or bigger, we can’t really grow the club”.
Currently the 185-member club has a waiting list of about 100, and can’t offer preschool or adult classes.
Boult, replying to Sydney’s letter, says: “I agree with you totally that the district needs a suitable home for the gymnastics club.
“As a keen gymnast in my school days myself, I well recognise the skills and discipline that gymnastics brings and the part it plays in developing well-rounded young people.”
Council’s assessing the re-quirements of many community groups, “and the provision of gym facilities is certainly part of that exercise. This will take some time to achieve, but I hope there will be a positive outcome”.