A locally owned competitive cheerleading team is hoping to move back to Collingwood by the end of February after space restrictions in the Georgian Bay town sent them to Barrie for a practice venue.
CheerCore has asked the town and the County of Simcoe to allow an exception to setback rules for a building on Raglan Street where they'd like to rent space.
Last week, the County of Simcoe passed an Official Plan amendment during their committee of the whole meeting, which will still need to be ratified at their Jan. 28 meeting. The amendment will allow development on the land at 360 Raglan St., within an 18-metre setback to the Pretty River and expansion of the building to increase the size from 8,000 square feet to 10,500 square feet for CheerCore’s new practice space.
“We’re just working away at trying sort everything out to get all our equipment moved in. There is still a 20-day appeal process, so we’re kind of waiting for that to be done. It will be up at the beginning of February,” said Samantha Thomas, co-owner of CheerCore. “In the meantime, it’s just moving in equipment and hoping for the best."
CheerCore is a cheer and tumbling club that started in Collingwood 10 years ago. The group lost their practice space at a neighbouring property to the Collingwood Regional Airport earlier this year, and had to move their operations to their Barrie location while waiting to find a more permanent space in Collingwood.
“We had opened in Barrie prior to us finding out we were losing our Collingwood location, which was very lucky,” said Thomas. “The whole business would have likely gone down had we not done that.”
Currently, the Raglan Street building is home to multiple tenants including Buff-it Detailing, Blue Mountain Welding Shop, Collingwood Fine Cars, Miller Contracting, and Bird Fuels. CheerCore would be an additional tenant in the new unit, which is owned by A. G. Designs Corporation (Adam Garbutt). A.G. Designs will now be required to apply for a building permit through the Town of Collingwood to start expansion plans.
Since losing practice space in Collingwood, the CheerCore team members have been travelling to Barrie for multiple training sessions every week. Thomas estimates about 75 competitive students have been making the drive from Collingwood to Barrie.
“We completely lost our recreational program locally because most recreational people will not travel an hour for a class,” she said. “We’re excited to get that back up and running and get some new people into the sport.”
The town received no opposition to the proposed changes, and neither the town’s engineering services nor the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority had any concerns.
Collingwood council passed the zoning bylaw amendment and the official plan amendment, as well as an amendment to the site plan control agreement at their meeting on Oct. 28, 2019.
Thomas was raised in Collingwood and started CheerCore through the Summer Company program. Since then, the competitive team has won national and provincial awards, as well as the National Cheerleaders Association Championship – an international event – in Dallas, Tex.
CheerCore was the first Canadian gym to win the title.
Thomas said they are shooting for a late February opening date for the new site. Although the specific date will be subject to final approvals, she said this week she’s optimistic about the future.
“It feels great! I started the business (in Collingwood) for a reason. I love this town and I was happy to serve our families where most of them are. I’m definitely looking forward to getting back there and back to business where we originally started,” she said.