Nanaimo school district waives gym rental fees for tournament

NANAIMO – The Junior All Native Basketball Tournament is coming to Nanaimo in late March.

Nanaimo school trustees have voted to waive gym rental fees for the Junior All Native Basketball Tournament coming to Nanaimo in late March.

The Snuneymuxw First Nation is the tournament host and the gyms at John Barsby Secondary, Nanaimo District Secondary and Georgia Avenue Elementary schools have been booked for games and use as a cafeteria for participants.

Rental of the two high school gyms would’ve cost $6,950 for five days and the elementary school gym rental was set at $458 for three days’ usage.

“It’s something we’ve done in the past and I think it’s in good community spirit,” said Steve Rae, school board chairman. “I think it’s an important event and we all feel it’s an important event and we feel this would be something that we should continue.”

Organizers also asked that $4,222 in custodial fees be waived, but Rae said the school board is examining that, with a staff report set for March’s board meeting.

“We’re going to figure out how that works because we haven’t got it budgeted, so we need to figure out if that’s feasible or not,” said Rae.

Paul Wyse-Seward, organizer, coach and Snuneymuxw band councillor, said the tournament will provide an economic boost for the city.

“It’s just a partnership thing and it’s the community working together and they’re all high school students that are participating in this tournament from all over the province,” said Wyse-Seward.

The tournament runs from March 22-27, during spring break, and the championship takes place at the Vancouver Island University gym.