Gym users are campaigning to keep the Mill Park Leisure Centre open during its $25 million redevelopment amid fears Whittlesea council plans to close the centre for two years.
Councillors met on January 9 to hold confidential discussions about the $25 million redevelopment and to decide whether to completely close the centre for the duration of the works.
While a decision has been made, the council is refusing to share its plans with the community for now.
Mayor Kris Pavlidis said that as the redevelopment was discussed as a contractual confidential item at the January 9 meeting, the decision had to remain confidential for the time being.
Mill Park Leisure Centre members have started a petition calling for the centre to remain open and plan to attend the next council meeting on February 6 to raise their concerns about the closure.
Mill Park Leisure Centre member Josie Vinar said she did not understand why the council was being so secretive.
Ms Vinar joined the centre three years ago and said it had been a lifeline for her during a recent cancer battle.
“If I didn’t have the gym, I wouldn’t have survived. [The members] all rallied around me. They kept me motivated. They built up my morale and self-esteem and kept me going,” she said. “I know it sounds silly, but it is like a big family. If you don’t turn up to the gym, people reach out to you. It will be a loss to the community.”
Fellow member, Danielle Black, said every member of her family used the centre, from the creche, to the swimming pool and gym.
She joined the gym 12 years ago after the birth of her third child, when she was feeling “a little depressed”.
The long-awaited redevelopment will upgrade the ageing centre into a state-of-the-art aquatic and fitness hub.
It will feature fully-accessible pools, water play features, an enlarged gym and fitness program area, outdoor fitness, family play and barbecue areas.