Gymnastics club reaches registration goal But suffers setback from water bill

Two-hundred and fifty.
That was the number that Mirel Bica, who is a coach for the Fort Frances Gymnastics and Visserettes Club, had tattooed on his brain during the summer and the number he hoped the club would reach after all the registrations had been counted.
And what’s the verdict?
“We have around 260 people registered,” Bica said with glee. “So the registration went very well.”
When Bica and his wife, Mirela, signed on as coaches three years ago the club had about 25 gymnasts, but one obvious problem the club has is they are using the same facility they used for 25 gymnasts that they use for 260.
A new building is required, and they are doing there best to get funding—they have applied for a Trillium Foundation grant—to get a new and bigger establishment.
But they suffered a setback when they received a water bill that was almost nine times the amount they were used to.
A water bill for the months of March and April in the amount of $1,276.54 was opened by Bica, and it would be an understatement to say he wasn’t shocked at the amount on the invoice.
“It’s a huge amount of water,” said Bica.
That it was, as the invoice said the club had used 216,000 gallons of water. The bill for January/February was at $142.53 (14,000 gallons), so Bica figured it was a problem with the meter.
“My personal opinion is that it’s a meter problem. The people from the town looked around and there were no leaks they said,” Bica noted.
But that didn’t reduce the amount of the bill, so the club wrote a letter to the Town of Fort Frances and asked for a further review.
“We did not, in the month of April, have any unusual circumstances that could have possible contributed to such a gross increase in water usage,” wrote the club’s president, Diane Boustead, in a letter to the town that was received on June 2.
“We are at a loss to explain how such an exorbitant amount of water could possibly have been metered at our facility. We ask that we be assessed our traditional minimum commercial rate for the month of April, and that the Town have the meter on our property assessed for its accuracy,” Boustead finished.
But the town did not find a problem with the water meter and said the club had a leaky water fixture that had been repaired (the water consumption for the club was back to its regular amount for the months of May and June), and town council last Monday, in a vote of 5-1, decided to not adjust the bill.
What does this mean to the club?
Bica says having to pay the bill will affect the purchasing of new equipment and possibly going out of town for competitive trips, which would be a huge blow to the club he says.
“We have to find this money somehow and somewhere, and if they ask us to pay for this water bill then we will, but it will definitely affect us,” said Bica. Boustead wished not to comment on the town’s decision.
But the good news is the club reached its registration goals, and if there are still people interested in registering it’s not late. They can just call Bica at either 274-6244 or 274-2966.

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