Action Fitness Club's closure fuels speculation CFA is ready to pounce on site for fire station

WARRNAMBOOL’S oldest- running gym will close next week, fuelling speculation the city’s new fire station will be built on Mortlake Road.

Action Fitness Club announced on its Facebook page yesterday it would no longer operate as a fitness and sporting centre from Thursday.

At least 30 years old, the centre comprises an indoor pool, squash courts, gym and indoor cricket training facilities and a cardio room separate to the gym.

The Facebook post said management and staff wanted to thank members for their continued support over the many years of operation.

“We hold many fond memories of the centre, as we are sure you do also,” the post said.

When contacted for comment, part-owner Alan Thompson directed media inquiries to the CFA.

CFA regional director for Barwon South West Bob Barry told The Standard the CFA was still in the process of purchasing a site on Mortlake Road.

He said he couldn’t confirm or deny that the fitness centre had been identified as the preferred site.

Last year Mr Barry said the precinct near the five-way Mortlake Road roundabout was the preferred location because of its proximity to residential growth zones and key roads. “We can cover the city properly with a new central station in the right location and also enhance nearby brigades,” he said.

“It will be a significant challenge to get a parcel of land at least 6000 square metres in size.

“We can compulsorily acquire land, but we don’t want to go down that path. 

‘‘Our view is Warrnambool needs a new major station. The existing one is limited in space.”

He said when suitable land had been confirmed, moves would be made to buy it and seek money for construction. 

Yesterday centre members posted on Facebook their disappoint at the closure.

One woman said it was sad to hear and she’d miss everybody involved.

Another woman said the news was sad and she loved the staff and wonderful instructors.

The centre, which was Warrnambool’s first commercial gym, has hundreds of members. 

They won’t be left out of pocket, with management saying any prepaid memberships beyond next Thursday would be reimbursed. 

All direct-debit arrangements with members would also have their accounts cancelled as per their contracts.

Previous Action centre owners had lobbied strongly more than a decade ago to have the city’s indoor 25-metre pool built at the site. 

But the city council opted to build a new 25-metre indoor facility at AquaZone. 

The Mortlake Road facility has housed various sports and recreations over the years, including indoor beach volleyball, indoor soccer, indoor cricket and squash.

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