Karate kids hopeful they can stay at MAC

Isshin-ryu club wants to continue practising at community activity centre

From left: Ajir

From left: Ajir

Municipal hall was packed with youngsters in white gis and various coloured belts on Monday as the Mission Isshin-Ryu Karate Club appealed to council to stay in the community activity centre.

The club was concerned it would lose its space after council handed over the building on Taulbut Street to the Mission Seniors Centre Association for a minimum of 15 months.

“We were definitely a little worried, although we were never told that we were going to be removed from the building,” said club owner Peter Motut on Tuesday.

He said he had met with councillors beforehand, however, and was asked if there were any other spaces they might be able to rent instead.

“So we could read the writing on the wall, that it seemed like they were trying to determine if we were relocatable.”

Motut said the delegation was a means of introducing the 100-plus members of the club to the new council and to explain how much of an impact it has on the lives of Missionites.

Part of the presentation included a testimonial from Canadian Olympic swim team member Brent Hayden, a black belt who credits much of his success to his time at the club. As well, Canadian National Karate Champion Shaun Dhillon counts himself as an alumni.

Motut asked the district for a commitment to the club and a 20-year contract at the activity centre.

Mayor Ted Adlem said the district wouldn’t be making any commitments on a 20-year contract but that a meeting was scheduled between himself, the karate club and Seniors Centre Association president Bob Ingram on Wednesday evening, which took place after The Record’s press deadline.

“For those folks that fear they’re going to be thrown out of their current building where you have your facility, let me allay those fears,” he said to applause.

Motut said he spoke to Ingram informally after the presentation and was told the seniors are counting on rental income from the karate club to help finance the seniors’ centre. But Motut added he was concerned any increase in operating costs might require a membership fee increase that would harm low-income karate practitioners.

“I understand that the seniors need a facility. I do agree with that. We just don’t need to see one program displaced for another,” he said.

Coun. Jenny Stevens voiced similar concerns Monday, saying she would not support one activity to the exclusion of another.