Gym for disabled off-limits after quake

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 07:26 27/09/2012
ParaFed Canterbury
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ

SAFE STORAGE: ParaFed Canterbury chairman Andrew Hawker watches the organisation's gym equipment being moved into temporary storage.

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The future of Christchurch's only gym for disabled people is still unknown after the building was deemed to be earthquake-prone.

The Burwood Hospital building that housed ParaFed Canterbury's offices and gym was closed in May.

The organisation's four fulltime staff have moved in with Melrose Wheelchairs in Sawyers Arms Rd. ParaFed has been able to continue its athletics and children's sports programmes but its gym has remained shut.

ParaFed Canterbury chairman Andrew Hawker said volunteers from Dynamic Controls and Elite Fitness helped dismantle and move gym equipment out of the quake-prone building in Burwood on Monday.

"It's the end of an era."

The gym had been open for about 15 years and had about 140 able-bodied and disabled members, although it was used by many more, he said.

The equipment was loaded into a shipping container and would be kept on the hospital site until a decision about the gym's future was made.

"We're still hopeful the redevelopment of Burwood will have space for us," he said. "We've had pretty positive discussions with the hospital board, but we had to make the decision to store the gear because we don't want to lose it in case they decide to stop access to the building or anything like that."

Two other Parafed properties had been affected by the quakes, including a red-zoned rental house and a community hall that needed to be repaired. The hall was usable, and the organisation had taken the Government's red- zone buyout offer to build a fully accessible rental house.

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- The Press

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