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Insurance costs lead to trampoline restrictions at the Multiplex

James McCarthy/NNSL photo Emma Leathem is pictured at NWT Gymnastics Championships at the Yellowknife Gymnastics Club on April 6.

Correction: Comments attributed to Jane Murray, general manger of the Yellowknife Gymnastics Club, in an early version of this story were actually said by Jessica Smith, sport co-ordinator for NWT Gymnastics. Also, trampoline use is available to recreational classes with certified instructors. And, at present, air-tracks are not available at the gymnastics club facility. Yellowknifer apologizes for any embarrassment or confusion caused by these errors.

Following changes to Gymnastics BC's insurance policies, kids at day camps and birthday parties will no longer be able to use the Yellowknife Gymnastics Club's trampolines.

The shift came into effect on July 1 after Gymnastics BC's insurance broker Marsh Canada – which NWT Gymnastics buys insurance from – decided not to cover recreational trampoline use.

Due to the new insurance regulations, only competitive athletes and structured classes with certified instructors can use the trampolines at the Multiplex.

They are no longer allowed to be used for camps, birthdays or drop-ins.

A letter from NWT Gymnastics to its affiliated clubs said the changes will ensure safety for those using the facilities.

Injuries due to trampoline use are not very common, according to Jessica Smith, sport coordinator for NWT Gymnastics, but they do occur.

"It happens of course," said Smith. "But the coaches are all trained with trampolines and can teach the progressions for that. We do have three trampoline and tumbling coaches for the Yellowknife gymnastics program that are certified."

Smith said specialized training is required for a coach to be able to instruct people on the trampoline.

The Yellowknife Gymnastics Club hosts birthday parties at the Multiplex where groups of up to 45 children can play under the supervision of a certified coach.

At $150 to $250 per event, these parties are an important revenue source for NWT Gymnastics, which is the sport organization responsible for the governance of the YKGC.

Smith said these parties remain popular, despite the fact that attendees can no longer use the trampolines.

"It's a small community so there's not a whole lot of places with space that you can rent," said Smith . "People are even requesting they be on a wait list."

Now, instead of using the $9,000 in-ground trampolines, party guests will have to make do with bouncy castles and perhaps air-tracks if they become available, she said.

"An air-track is a giant inflatable, you can get one that looks like exactly like a trampoline except it doesn't have a spring bed, so it sits on the ground," said Smith. "It's up to each individual club to look at those options, but for the little guys, trampolines are fun but they don't understand all of the progressions you'll need to stay safe so I know they do use the bouncy castles instead."

Since the changes took affect at the start of July, the trampolines have not been missed, she said.

"I know that the YKGC runs a summer camp and I know there hasn't been any trampoline use in that camp and they are into five weeks now," said Smith. "It hasn't been missed."

The campers and birthday party attendees have been kept busy using just about every other apparatus paired with rigorous activity.

"There haven't been any complaints," she said. "The kids are still having fun."