Six weeks ago, Pow! Town Roller Derby was given notice that it will have to vacate the Thunderdome, formerly Liquidation World on Joyce Avenue, by September 30 to make way for a new local business.
“It was quite shocking at first because that has been our home for two years,” said past roller derby president Nicki Lister, “but we're a resilient group of people and we've found a new place to skate.”
The club will skating at Henderson Elementary School for three nights weekly over the winter, according to Lister.
“Everyone has been super helpful in getting us into the school,” she said.
In the spring, when the ice comes out at Powell River Recreation Complex, which was where the club skated before the Thunderdome, roller derby will return to its former home. Until the complex is available, no public or training events will take place.
Thunderdome had given the roller derby team the opportunity to host scrimmages with teams from Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, and training sessions for teams throughout the region. Pow! Town already had plans in place for Thunderdome to host those practice sessions with other league teams that were going to travel to Powell River to use a facility ideal for the sport, according to Lister.
“No one else had a space quite like we had,” she said. “We were pretty lucky. We probably had the best space in the province, to be honest.”
Floor space for roller derby is hard to come by across Canada, according to Lister, and a lot of leagues have been through what Powell River's is dealing with now.
For the interim, the club will have to go over the island for its scrimmages.
“Our travel costs will go up,” said Lister. “If you go to the island for a two-hour event, that's your whole day. Your time commitment changes.”
Powell River Tennis Centre, owned Igor Skobkarev, has taken occupancy as of October 1. The building’s owner is Jack Barr, who also owns Town Centre Mall and Town Centre Hotel.
“We are building two full-size tennis courts in the building," said Skobkarev, "along with pickle ball markings, so you can play both tennis and pickleball."
The centre is scheduled to open November 1.