Council prepares to manage Fitness Centre, no price or service changes

Ararat Rural City Council is preparing to take over management of the Ararat Fitness Centre on October 28, with no disturbance to services or price changes expected.

Council CEO Dr Tim Harrison said there will be small physical changes to the centre, such as minor changes to the entrance and instalment of new signage.

PHOTO: Ararat Council

“The Ararat Fitness Centre’s operating hours, group fitness timetables and gym operation hours will all stay the same when we take over on October 28,” he said.

“Fees and charges will also stay the same, direct debits will continue, and there will be no disruption to services, so customers will not notice any difference once Council takes the reins.”

The centre staff are guaranteed work until January 2020, along with two new positions to be introduced: Centre Co-ordinator and Aquatics Team Leader. The two positions are due to start when Council takes control.

It was in September that the Ararat Rural City Council announced they would take over management at the Fitness Centre, the Outdoor Olympic Pool and the Willaura and Lake Bolac swimming pools.

The council has anticipated saving around $1.1 million in the first five years of taking over management in these locations. Upgrades will start taking place over the next 18 months.

“This will be achieved through a loan of up to $2.5 million, which would be serviced through the ongoing savings to Council from ending the contract of current managers Unified Community Sports and Leisure (UCSL) and bringing service delivery in-house,” Dr Harrison said.

“Some of the funds will also be used to upgrade and repair ageing infrastructure at the Willaura Outdoor Memorial Pool and the Peter O’Rorke Lake Bolac Memorial Pool. UCSL manage both rural pools, plus the Ararat Fitness Centre and the Ararat Outdoor Olympic Pool.”

The Council will be seeking grants from the State and Federal governments to offset the cost further for upgrade jobs.

“This is an economic decision that will not only provide a much-needed infrastructure upgrade to important Council facilities, but will also allow Council to create a stronger link with our community through direct provision of this key service.”

Council says it will be working with the community to redevelop the Ararat Fitness Centre facilities to have better accessibility and a more up-to-date environment.

The upgrade draft plans will be presented to centre users for feedback by the end of the year.

” The Council is very excited about the possibilities these upgrades will bring, and we hope the community will be very happy to hear the centre will be getting some much-needed attention.”