Northern Carleton Recreation Centre open for fun

by | Jan 29, 2024

Modern new facility next to civic centre features room for gymnastics, community events, sports, and state-of-the-art rock-climbing wall

The highly anticipated Northern Carleton Recreation Centre finally opened its doors for a “soft opening” on Dec. 11, 2023.

Ground broke in 2020 for the state-of-the-art recreation centre. However, the pandemic caused numerous construction delays, pushing back completion and the planned opening.

The centre opened in stages, with the gymnastics club opening first and then the remainder of the building.

District of Carleton North Recreation Manager Jill Whitehouse said the community will hold a grand opening celebration later in the spring.

The new centre houses a new facility for the River Valley Gymnastics program, a community gym, a community room with a kitchen, and a rock-climbing wall.

A large viewing area upstairs with seating and bar-style eating areas overlooks both the gymnasium and the gymnastics club, offering comfort and convenience for those attending sports tournaments.

The facility is entirely wheelchair accessible.

So far, said Whitehouse, the first few weeks of the centre have been a big success.

The new gymnasium features a walking track which circles the facility. (Sandra Hanson photo)

“We’ve had a great reception so far,” she said. “The walking track has been very steady and the rock wall is a huge hit.”

The recreation centre features the only rock-climbing wall between Fredericton and Edmundston.

“We have people coming from all over, even out of district, to use the wall,” said Whitehouse.

She explained that during construction, the District consulted with Free Range Climbing in Saint John, who helped design and set up the initial courses. There are rock courses for beginners, intermediates, and advanced levels.

The main wall is 28’ tall at the peak. There is also a smaller “freefall” wall for learning to climb and fall safely. Whitehouse shared that it is a hit with little children, and they have had children as young as two using it.

The centre hopes to offer rock-climbing programs for youth and adults alike in the future.

Recreation Manager Jill Whitehouse beside the brand new, 28′ tall rock climbing wall. (Sandra Hanson photo)

The gym offers a variety of activities for the community. Currently, they offer pickleball, basketball, soccer, badminton, and volleyball.

The activities are provided on a rotating basis, and the schedule and pricing are available on the District of Carleton North website.

“We’re seeing what the community can tell us, what they feel works, and what they want,” said Whitehouse. “We’re looking at a lot of different things for the future.”

She said they hope to eventually offer toddler and preschool programs similar to those at the Ayr Motor Centre in Woodstock.

In the meantime, other community programs are already being offered, such as Zoomers on the Go, a free fall prevention program for seniors which meets regularly in the gymnasium.

The community room has a full kitchen and will be fully licensed in the future. The brightly lit space can hold 50 people, and Whitehouse noted that there are plans to hold arts, culture, and fitness classes.

The upstairs gallery features two rows of seating and bar-style eating areas which overlook the gymnasium and the gymnastics club. (Sandra Hanson photo)

The space can also be rented out for other events.

Whitehouse said that they are excited about what the future holds for the facility.

“We have a great team and staff, and a lot of exciting new things coming up!”

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