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Cheam Leisure Centre Dropped

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The Student Union’s UPass won’t give students access to the Cheam Leisure Centre in Chilliwack anymore. Instead, UFV and the Student Union Society (SUS) partnered to create facilities and offer programming at the CEP campus.

The fitness project will ultimately see the development of a weight room and fitness facility, as well as organized social sport activities. While not all the programming has been laid out yet, the plan is to make some of these offerings available within the next two weeks.

Some of the fitness classes that UFV currently offers at CEP are belly dancing, pilates, and yoga, which take place at the black box theatre in CEP A building.

The decision to leave the partnership with the Cheam Leisure Centre was made by the previous SUS board; the announcement was made April 28 on the Centre’s facebook page. Although SUS and the Centre engaged in discussions over the past year, the centre was informed April 27 that effective May 1, the partnership would not continue.

Current SUS president Gurvir Gill said that part of the reason that the partnership was discontinued was because the centre planned to increase costs for the Student Union.

“We don’t think that’s fair for students,” Gill said. “At around that same time, the university came to us with this option saying they were already doing something, and asked if we’d be interested.”

UFV offered the Student Union a better deal, said Gill. Now, students will have full access to any of the programs or facilities at CEP — the $43.13 UPass fee will stay the same.

However, the increased subsidy asked for by the leisure centre was “nominal,” according to Cheam Leisure Centre facility manager, Shawn Bourgoin. With the cost increase, the centre was also planning to open the membership to all fitness classes.

Previously, the membership only allowed students access to the weight room and pool. The change would have granted access to all fitness classes, which includes yoga, pilates, and boot camps. Additionally, the partnership would have given students a 50 per cent discount for services outside of a membership, which includes lifeguard and first aid training.

An exact figure for how much the Student Union was paying the leisure centre and how much they plan to give UFV wasn’t provided, but SUS will be able to redirect funding from the leisure centre to UFV.

The plans for CEP had been in place prior to the Student Union / UFV partnership. Last year a new UFV student fee dubbed the “experiential learning and wellness fee” led to changes to campus recreation programs, which included offering free fitness classes all winter semester as well as the revitalization of what was formerly a gun range on the CEP campus.

The range, an industrial warehouse tent with an asphalt floor, will be used for sports like basketball or hockey.

The experiential learning and wellness fee, when presented in UFV’s 2016/17 budget, was expected to generate $540,000 in revenue. Funding from that fee, with the reallocation of SUS UPass fees, will lead to the development of the new CEP recreation plan.

The decision to reallocate the funding to UFV from the Cheam Leisure Centre was made in the last week of April, which means there hasn’t been much time to prepare. Cheryl Van Nes, UFV’s program manager of campus recreation and wellness said that the time crunch has made it challenging to pull everything together.

“I can have all sorts of equipment but where are we going to put it?” she said. “The university is supportive of having this stuff, so it’s just trying to figure out how we can make what we have work.”

Now, the Student Union and UFV are engaging in meetings to plan and fast track the rest of the programming.

“It’s surprising how [UFV] came exactly when these guys wanted to crank prices,” Gill said. “But so now we definitely want to do our best to get the students a better deal.”

Gill added that another appealing aspect of an on-campus recreation facility is that it can be geared towards students.

“Say you go to a rec centre and programming happens during they day, say yoga is at 10 a.m. Well everyone’s in class,” he said. “Especially Chilliwack, their programs are pretty set in stone. You’ve got a lot of nursing students, kinesiology students, and trades and tech.”

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