Revelstoke boxing club scrambling for a space to train
The road to the former Revelstoke Boxing Club house is bumpy and dark. It’s near the Illecillewaet River, in the area the city is developing into Powerhouse Road Park.
Now, the building sits empty. Up until last week, women, men, teens and the Revelstoke Grizzly hockey team trained at the gym in the club house. It costs five dollars to drop in to the open women’s and men’s classes.
The boxing club, which has been around for two decades, had been using the building for five years. The snowmobile club used the city-owned building before them. According to Evan Parliament, the city’s chief administrative officer, the agreement of use between the boxing club and city expired three years ago.
The building department recently brought the expired lease to the city’s attention. A team was sent out to inspect the building and found black mold, birds nests, rats and an unventilated bathroom, Parliament said.
As a consequence, the city ordered the building unsafe, and said the club has to move out. Its state is of “deep public concern,” Parliament said.
The building will be demolished quickly. Maybe the fire department will burn it for training, Parliament said.
A.J. Larose is a coach who’s been involved with the club since the beginning. Birds were nesting in the building’s eaves when the club moved in, and Larose requested eaves coverings at the time. According to him, they never got any. He’s noticed the occasional mouse, but never rats. Mold starting growing when the ceiling sprung a leak this fall, which Larose says has been repaired.
The club knew the agreement to use the building was up in the air, and they were already looking for a long-term space. They didn’t expect to have to move out so quickly.
Since its inception in 2001, the club’s been in an old gym on the highway, in the space Judy’s Designs is in now, in the Big Eddy school gym, and in the old Mt. Begbie school gym before the Powerhouse Rd. location.
Kids show up on their door step who are being bullied in school, and who struggle with their body image. Larose says boxing isn’t only about fighting. It teaches people of all ages confidence, and how to stand up for themselves. Universally, Larose said, boxing is a sport that’s accessible to people who make less money. In an attempt to keep costs low, the club always seeks out buildings they don’t have to pay to use, which has always made their training spaces precarious.
The city didn’t intend to displace the club, Parliament said, and they will work with them to find short-and long term solutions. In the interim, the regular women’s night boxing on Wednesdays and Monday is taking place at the dance studio in the Community Centre. The city will also make the golf clubhouse available for training, and will work with the Legion to provide that space.
The boxing club has about five punching bags that need to be hung properly. They store about 24 pairs of gloves, provide people with a washroom to change, fill their water and use the washroom, as well as there is a fighting ring. Along with space for a group to do exercise, that’s what they’re looking for.
Anyone who could help out the club with a space, or who wants to start boxing, find information and reach out to the club at their Facebook page.