FIT Forever members and Surf Coast Shire council staff are discussing the future of the fitness class as the council looks to transition from providing the group to simply facilitating an alternate provider.
The council’s decision was motivated by the state government’s introduction of rate capping, despite the council’s Sports and Facilities Operations Service Review stating “fitness classes almost break even and would do so with a very modest price increase.”
The fitness group has strongly resisted the council’s decision, as members are concerned that the group – which some members have been heavily involved in for about three decades – may wind up.
A handful of people from the group met with Surf Coast Shire mayor Rose Hodge, chief executive officer Keith Baillie and other council officers to discuss the group’s future.
Long-time group member Lyn Keefe said while the meeting was encouraging, the group’s concerns were far from over.
“We came away from that meeting feeling very positive but still somewhat concerned about the long-term viability of the classes.”
One of the resolutions from the meeting was that the council would look to increase the group by more actively promoting it.
Ms Keefe says she feels promoting the class may mean the financial margin for the council is even more nominal.
The council was asked if they would delay outsourcing the group to see if membership increased notably with their promotion of the group.
General manger culture and community Chris Pike responded: “We are continuing to investigate possible future providers, while we promote the classes.”
Mr Pike said the council would ensure the group would not be discontinued at any stage in the foreseeable future.
“During any change, Council is committed to the principle that people are not left without a service.
“We have good relationships with our existing instructors and are fielding enquiries from other local instructors. We are very confident that the fitness classes will not only continue but also grow. The ability for sessions to be run in the new indoor stadium from 2021 adds to the attraction for those wanting to run classes.”
People interested in joining or instructing the class can contact the council on 5261 0600 or by heading to surfcoast.vic.gov.au/request.