The Rankin Inlet Fitness Centre will hold a grand reopening to celebrate its new location at the renovated community hall complex this coming Saturday, July 18.
The completed renovations at the complex include turning the former hockey dressing-room area (formerly the swimming pool) into the new fitness centre.
The project is part of a five-year solution for the complex that benefits many in the community until a new recreational facility becomes a reality for Rankin.
As previously reported in Kivalliq News, the hamlet contributed about $50,000 toward the total effort at the complex, with the Rankin Inlet Fitness Society donating $25,000 and the Government of Nunavut putting in $250,000.
In addition to the fitness centre relocation, the completed work involved moving the community radio station, removing the upstairs mezzanine that once housed recreation co-ordinator David Clark’s office and a minor hockey storage area.
Work was also done to improve the stage in the community hall, and a $22,000 grant was approved by Nunavut Recreation and Sport to purchase and install a new sound system in the community hall.
Ford Widrig said strategically, in terms of operating the fitness centre, one risk he and fellow fitness centre executive member Evan Morrison had been aware of for some time is the security of their space.
He said that’s not so much actual building security in regards to not being broken into, but, rather, knowing they’re going to have a space to run the facility.
“Our landlord gave us a pretty good rate in our old location, which was great, but, at the same time, we always assumed that if somebody came along who was willing to pay market rate we’d probably lose the space and there’d be no more gym in Rankin,” said Widrig.
“At the same time, we were a non-profit trying to keep the costs down while providing a service to the community, so we always felt it would be nice if we could somehow get into the municipal infrastructure to be more secure at a lower cost.
“So, time goes on, Rankin gets a new arena and David Clark approaches us to see if the fitness centre would like to move into vacant space that’s now available at the old arena.
“Evan and I started talking with David and former SAO Justin Merritt and we came to an agreement on this new deal.”
Widrig said Morrison, who now lives in Iqaluit, is in Rankin to help finish the move off this week and will be present for the grand reopening.
He said once the gym reopens this week, he expects to see a resurgence in use by its members.
“People will be eager to get back at it after the closure due to Covid-19, and we might also see some people come out for the first time now that it’s in a new space.
“We have young and old members, people who are interested in lifting heavy weights, people who are interested in cardiovascular (aerobic) training, people who are there for rehab and people who are there trying to improve their physical fitness for sports – so it’s really a very diverse group of users.
“People come in for lots of different reasons but, ultimately, it’s just fitness one way or the other.”