SUS president Gurvir Gill says there are no concrete plans for upgrades to the Chilliwack fitness centre. Over a year and a half ago the Student Union Society (SUS) stopped offering Cheam Leisure Centre passes for Chilliwack students as part of the U-Pass, instead choosing to collaborate with UFV to create a fitness centre at the Canada Education Park (CEP) Chilliwack campus.
The fitness centre, called the “Qube,” was described as a “band-aid solution” when it first opened. The Qube is housed in an old RCMP classroom on the CEP campus, featuring several treadmills, stationary bikes, free weights, and weight machines. Other services offered in Chilliwack include fitness classes at the Black Box (the previous UFV theatre room) and sporting equipment in the Range (R building), a partially covered outdoor space.
Gill hopes that the Qube may be moved to a larger, more centralized room in the future. Nothing appears to be available at the moment, and Steve Tuckwood, the UFV director of athletic and campus recreation, said that without space to grow the only real option for improvement would be replacing equipment.
“So, that’s kind of just from the works in talks right now, seeing if that’s a possibility,” Gill said. “I’m saying, well, what we can do to help give students a bang-for-their-buck-type deal.”
Tuckwood believes that the Qube is currently not at the level a university should be able to provide in term of a fitness centre, and Gill agreed there is room for improvement at the center.
“What was there before compared to what’s there now, we have an upgrade,” said Tuckwood. “Are we where we should be for a university? Probably not.”
“I’d love to grow it. I think there’s an opportunity there if we can get some traction. If we could replicate what we have in Abbotsford in Chilliwack, I think people would be happy with it, but we don’t have the space.”
The previous SUS executive team announced in April 2017 that the contract with the Cheam Centre would be dropped. Part of the reason was an increase in fees by $8,000, from $71,000 to $79,000. With this increase, students would have received access to all fitness classes in addition to access to the pool and fitness room.
Reported 2017/2018 operating costs of the fitness centre totalled just over $24,000, plus $5,000 for equipment purchases. The dropped contract with the Cheam Centre came with no U-Pass fee decrease for UFV students.
In 2017-2018 fiscal year, UFV had just under 3,000 students residing in Chilliwack. Tuckwood believed that under 20 students used the fitness room per day, and between five to 10 students attended fitness classes. The range, he said, had also been underutilized.
“We haven’t had a ton of success in getting anything up and running sustainably there,” Tuckwood said.
Image: Jessica Barclay/The Cascade