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Climbing centre opens at oval

The Richmond Olympic Oval will launch its $550,000 climbing centre next week. The 6,400 sq ft. wall will feature 31 routes for all skills levels and a wheelchair accessible rappel deck. It will be the highest of its kind in B.C.

The Richmond Olympic Oval will launch its $550,000 climbing centre next week. The 6,400 sq ft. wall will feature 31 routes for all skills levels and a wheelchair accessible rappel deck. It will be the highest of its kind in B.C.

To kick off the opening, there will be aerial dance performances and demonstrations from the National Sport Climbing Team on May 8.

Twenty-four children from Kingswood elementary will also take part in the event.

The centre, considered to be one of the best in the region, was built as part of the oval's post-Olympics Community Legacy Program.

Not long after the idea was first introduced in 2010, the cost of installing the climbing wall more than doubled to $550,000.

However, oval bosses told city councillors - some of whom were worried about the cost - that they were confident that the increased scale of the wall would pull people into the facility from all over the Lower Mainland.

In particular, Coun. Bill McNulty was concerned about insurance premiums for people falling off the wall and that it may take up to 10 years to recoup the cash outlaid for the attraction, with forecasts of around $50,000 per year in net revenue.

The oval's decision to go ahead with the new climbing centre is part of its mandate to offer the community something different from the services already provided in the likes of local community centres.

acampbell@richmond-news.com

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