Vandalism may close gym

AL WILLIAMS
Last updated 05:00 21/08/2012

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The careless actions of a few threaten to close down a community asset in Temuka.

Thieves and vandals have targeted the Temuka Fitness Centre and it is getting to the stage where co-ordinators say they will close the gymnasium if the incidents continue.

The fitness centre is at the Temuka Stadium. It is run by volunteers who structure membership fees to cover rent and keep the fitness equipment up to date.

Members pay a $125 annual fee and receive a key to get unlimited access to the gymnasium.

That could all end, however, as equipment has gone missing and the rooms have been damaged.

Temuka shopkeeper and community board member Paddy O'Reilly co-ordinates the membership and oversees the operation.

He believes there are members who have been taking advantage of the system.

Around 50 people are signed up and have key access to the rooms.

Mr O'Reilly says weights and medicine balls have been stolen.

People have also been using the venue to consume alcohol and smoke cigarettes, he says.

He has told police and believes he knows who is responsible.

"The shame of it is that you've got a core group of people who get enjoyment out of it and it's cheap. We've got to put the funds back into it; we get some funding from community trust funds."

Mr O'Reilly says there will be a couple of options if the thefts and vandalism continue.

"You could put the price up but it would be too expensive or we could close it and use it as a secluded club."

He says some of the gear has been donated by members, and other groups such as the Temuka Rugby Club use the facilities.

"A lot of older guys use it too; it would be a shame to lose this facility."

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- The Timaru Herald

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