We, the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat, are on a mission to visit and get to know better, key resources in our community – and today it was the Big Marble Go (BMG) Centre.
We had the pleasure of the company of Benj Heinrichs, Fitness Coordinator, who gave us a great tour of the Centre and answers to many questions as we moved around.
BMG is a recreation centre second to none. It is maintained and operated by the City of Medicine Hat Parks & Recreation Department, which has about 200 employees, deployed throughout the City.
The size of the Centre, the range of services and facilities, the cleanliness, the kinds of equipment, the staff – amazing!
All the instructors are certified and are also trained to take care of any health issues that may pop up.
Benj takes about 8 classes per day; he also trains the staff to ensure they are doing a good job; does administrative work; and he is responsible for seeing that the whole Fitness Centre is operating smoothly.
A bit of background: Benj taught kinesiology at the Medicine Hat College for 15 years until 2013. He then spent 8 years in Edmonton, returning to the Hat in 2022. Medicine Hat is HOME!
The original building, comprising the pool and the ice rink, opened about 23 years ago.The gymnasium, fieldhouse and fitness centre were added in 2016.
From the lobby, we viewed the pool, the rink, the hallway, fieldhouse, gymnasium, and fitness floor, including doing a (leisurely) lap of the track, before returning to the lobby and the Board Room for a time of socializing while enjoying coffee and muffins.
Pickleball has become very popular. It is one of the fastest growing sports globally, according to Benj. There are outdoor and indoor courts (the latter set up in the gym) at BMG. One has, however, to become a member of the Pickleball Association of Medicine Hat, in order to access the courts.
Benj pointed out that BMG offers one of the biggest outdoor pickleball facilities in Western Canada. There are 24 courts.
The Fieldhouse accommodates indoor tennis, indoor soccer and classes. Athletes train there as well.
Walking round the indoor track (200m on the inside), we noted how equipment looked so well maintained and in pristine condition.
The BMG staff are divided into groups: Recreation Programming; Customer Service; Aquatics; Fitness; the ice rink is taken care of by facility operations; and rentals by facility planning.
Funding? 50% from the City, generated through taxes, and 50% from membership fees. Big Marble Farm’s sponsorship goes to the City, and is then allocated by the City Parks and Recreational Department, to BMG.
It was an excellent visit – we left better informed and had fun in the process of learning!
Thank you Benj, and indeed all the staff at BMG!
If not already a member, we encourage you to join BIG MARBLE GO for a range of great recreational opportunities, guided by informed, qualified, caring, and friendly staff members! Only $50 per month for seniors! Subsidization is available for anyone, of any age, who is unable to pay the full membership fee.