The battle to keep Bacchus Marsh Leisure Centre gym open continues as Moorabool council calls on the public for a second time to run the health club.
Moorabool council officially took over control of the leisure centre, including the gym, last week, ending a decade of management by Belgravia Leisure. The gym will be closed until August because equipment and instructors had not been secured by June 30 when the handover took place.
Dozens of gym-goers have now been put out as the gym’s future remains uncertain.
In March, the council put the gym out for tender and received no interest.
But at last Wednesday’s meeting, councillors voted to call for expressions of interest for a second time – this time with rent on a “peppercorn” agreement, free use of gym equipment and seed funding to help with set up and running costs.
Gym member Chris Kiss said she and a number of other members were in tears as they left the gym for the last time.
“The gym we have is very special and is more than just a place to exercise,” Ms Kiss said.
“We have people of all different fitness levels … we’re just ordinary people.
“Over the 20 years that I’ve been going there, I’ve met people with depression, shy, quiet and lonely people. Mothers with young people who don’t have a lot of adult company.
“For all these people, it’s their escape. The gym is where they spend their ‘me’ time.”
“It’s really important for people who are socially isolated.
If not for this facility, they’d have nowhere to go and council should recognise that and support these people.
“When you look at the money that council spends on other things, this is not beyond them.”
East ward councillor Jarrod Bingham has been vocal about saving the gym and agreed with Ms Kiss’ concerns.
“This health club is servicing the elderly and those with disabilities,” Cr Bingham said.
“If this health club were to close then these people would not be able to go anywhere within our shire.”
Basketball competitions at the leisure centre will not be affected.