SPORTIES HEALTH AND FITNESS SET TO RE-OPEN
Wednesday, 24 June 2020
Sporties President Gary Hunt today announced that following a huge show of support by the broader community and the Moira and Berrigan Shire Council’s Sporties Health and Fitness is set to re-open.
“This is fantastic news” Said Mr Hunt. “The level of community activation over the last few weeks did not surprise us at all. We would actually have been really surprised and disappointed had that not occurred. It was never a case of us not knowing or understanding the value of Sporties Health and Fitness to our community. Through our members, we have provided these facilities and programs for 30 years and the stories that have been so prominent in social media, shared online and through letters and Emails are ones we hear regularly. We know Sporties Health and Fitness changes peoples lives and its something that makes us very proud”
It was in this context that the decision to close the facility indefinitely was not made lightly. It was in fact one of the hardest decisions, if not the hardest decision that this Board has ever had to make.
The harsh realities of our current operating environment however really took a lot of our choices away.
The Sporties Group exists to make our region a better place to live. We invest heavily in our community, by more than $1m every year by providing funding to others and providing facilities and services such as Sporties Health and Fitness, the Cobram Barooga Golf Club, Barooga Bowls, and Barooga Sports Club. Many of these rely on significant operational subsidy each year. With the coronavirus having a devastating and immediate impact on the overall operations and still there being high levels of uncertainty about its future impacts, it was simply not possible for us to continue this support at previous levels.
This did not mean however that we lost hope or that we did not keep working to find a solution or way forward to get Sporties Health and Fitness re-opened.
The resolution by Moira Shire Council passed at last night’s Council meeting to provide $50,000 funding support for the next two years, matching the $50,000 that Berrigan Shire resolved to provide last week provides a solid foundation on which we can build to work through this current very difficult period and focus on a long term sustainable operational model for Sporties Health and Fitness. The Sporties Group will also contribute $50,000 each year.
This show of support by the Moira and Berrigan Shire Council’s is welcomed and appreciated. This is a genuine partnership approach to providing access to facilities and programs that make a real difference and contribute in such a positive way to the liveability of our area. It is a recognition of the importance of Sporties Health and Fitness and the efforts and work of all the staff that give their best every day.
I would like to acknowledge our staff who have been through a really difficult rollercoaster ride over the last 12 weeks. As we have stated previously, Sporties Health and Fitness is well used, people value the level of service and it is ran very efficiently from a financial perspective. Its not just us saying this. We base this view on recognised industry benchmarking and the feedback from users, much of which many people have seen and shared.
We would also like to acknowledge everyone who came forward to share their stories, voice their concerns and their support and in particular the Save the Barooga Pool movement and the small team that coordinated that group and were able to clearly articulate just what Sporties Health and Fitness means to so many.
We are not naïve to the terrific challenge that lays ahead. Through the investment by the Berrigan and Moira Shires along with our contribution we now have 2 years to work on long term sustainability. We are encouraged by the engagement and ground swell of community support and know we need that sustained both by way of being involved and using the centre, not just now, but for the long term.
From here our immediate goal is to focus on re-opening as early as practicable and in a way that meets all covid-19 related obligations and requirements. We will provide further updates as we understand what that looks like and the associated time frames.