Users air gym grievances

Last updated 05:00 09/11/2012
fitness studio users
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/ Fairfax NZ

GETTING THE MESSAGE: Fitness Studio members let mayor Janie Annear know their views on the future of the gym.

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Closing the Fitness Studio at the SBS Events Centre is "not a done deal".

Timaru Mayor Janie Annear made it clear the council was still to make the decision on the gym's future when she and several councillors attended a meeting there yesterday.

The meeting came about as those attending light circuit classes had written to Mrs Annear concerned over the gym's future.

Membership has halved to about 200 in the past six months, although it was unclear how many members were using both the Fitness Studio and CBay Fitness. The council has always said the gym would remain open until at least January 31.

The council's community services manager Sharon Matson is preparing a report on its future for the December council meeting.

One member spoke of being "absolutely disgusted" by the way the equipment and staffing had been run down at the Fitness Studio.

The location of the gym, as well as the light circuit classes, were repeatedly referred to as reasons why members went there, even though Mrs Annear explained a weekly light circuit class was being introduced at CBay Fitness.

She said "an inquisition" was not productive, urging members to be positive about what could be done better. In spite of that, members were still quick to air grievances.

One member said her husband was considering cancelling his membership after she had to pay the 30-day notice period required to cancel her membership, even though the cancellation was on medical advice.

Several spoke of the importance of the gym for keeping fit and active as they got older.

Mrs Annear made it clear the gyms needed to operate on a commercial basis. Profits offset the running costs of the aquatic centre.

"Council will not subsidise [the gyms] with rates as that would not be fair to other gym operators."

One member asked whether the council had considered reducing the Fitness Centre's opening hours, thereby reducing the centre's costs.

"A lot of options are being looked into. It is like an iceberg, you are only seeing the tip of the iceberg," council's community services manager Sharon Matson said.

Meeting organiser June van Zee was not reassured by the meeting.

"We want to know whether it is staying open or not. We want them to come clean with us. I have heard it all before."

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- The Timaru Herald

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