Patience has paid off for Lauren Phillips. Two and a half years after she first proposed teaming up with the Prince George Golf and Curling Club to create a multi-sport centre the dream has finally come to fruition.
When Phillips first approached the PGGCC about adding a climbing wall for adventure enthusiasts to the golf and curling facility the timing wasn't right. For one thing, the PGGCC was in a state of flux and didn't know if they'd remain at its current location (2833 Recreation Place). Now with the PGGCC staying put and the Prince George Tennis Centre moving down the street to join them after the city decided to sell the land their old club was situated on, a new opportunity to create a recreational sports facility in Prince George was born.
"We planted a seed," said Phillips, owner of the OVERhang climbing wall and outdoor education centre located in the former squash courts at the PGGCC. "This is a really neat space. The location in Prince George is unparalleled. Access is good and the area is fairly safe."
The climbing wall is the only indoor facility of its kind in Prince George.
"This is a more vibrant spot, easily accessed by a number of schools," said Phillips. "It isn't just a climbing gym, it's an education centre."
OVERhang has actually been around for about four years in Prince George offering instruction in outdoor education for swift water safety, ice rescue, avalanche awareness and several other courses. Now that they have a permanent home, Phillips said the things they can offer just grows.
In addition to three climbing rooms, the two-story facility also has a classroom/yoga gym, space for a boxing bootcamp and other cardio machines and a retail space for outdoor enthusiasts to stock up on equipment. There's also a space for birthday parties.
Classes for the ladies boxing bootcamp began two weeks with about eight women taking part in the classes which combines cardio and basic boxing moves. A men's boxing bootcamp will be offered if enough interest is expressed.
"Somebody who shows up to go climbing may discover some of the other opportunities here and look at trying those out, while people who have never climbed before may decide to try it out," said Phillips about the partnership.
Logistics slowed the building of the new tennis courts this summer, but president of the Prince George centre Rob Prideaux said they should be completed before winter hits. The new public courts will double the number of courts from four to eight well-lit courts, which will allow players to play into the night. There are also five pickleball courts painted onto the tennis courts.
Prideaux said the grand opening will probably occur in the spring of 2014.
The renovation project to revamp the PGGCC into a multi-sport centre has cost upwards of a million dollars, but the final price tag isn't known as construction continues, said PGGCC general manager Alan Mackenzie.
Golfers are still out putting away and are invited to keep playing until the Mother Nature decides to shut them down for the winter, while the curling club is currently processing applications for its various leagues - men's, women's, mixed and the Little Rocks program to name a few. Curling leagues begin Oct. 7.
Mackenzie said there are other sports and activities like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing they make look to include in the future.
"We've got a big piece of property and as it builds we'll add to it," said Mackenzie.
One thing on the agenda of all four current sports groups is a name change for the facility, because the current name appears to give many people the under the false assumption that it's a private club.
"We're looking into re-branding with a name change and possibly a logo change," said Mackenzie. "I don't know when it'll happen, but it'll definitely happen."
All four facilities - golf, curling, tennis and the climbing wall - will be open for a public viewing Saturday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. for everyone to check out. Professional climbers will provide demonstrations in the climbing gym, but the general public will only be able to watch this weekend. The climbing walls will open to the public within the next couple of weeks.
Check out the websites for the PGGCC sports facilities at overhang.ca, pggolfandcurlingclub.com and pgtennis.ca for more information, prices and times of lessons and leagues.