Courting disaster: Action closure hits squash players

THE closure of Warrnambool’s oldest-running gym has left the city’s squash club without any adequate facilities.

Action Fitness Club shut its doors  last night and with it the club said goodbye to its six squash courts.

The courts are the only facilities available in Warrnambool after the closure of the Timor Street Club.

The club, which has about 80 members, has set up two new committees to look at the sport’s short term and long term future.

President Shaun Stapleton said the decision to close the gym had been disappointing for members.

“Its been a good club,” he said.

“We’ve all been doing it quite a while. 

‘‘I’ve been going since I was a toddler. 

“I played juniors there. 

‘‘It’s a bit of a shock.”

Mr Stapleton said it was early days on what the club would do but he said it  would investigate co-sharing a facility with another sporting club. 

He said any facility would need Warrnambool City Council support.

“We’re looking for support from the community and the council,” he said.

“Basically at this stage we’re just testing the waters. 

“We don’t want to lose members.

“We need a short-term fix and a long-term fix.”

The club, which includes racquetball, meet four times a week for pennant and social hits.

In October the club was due to host one of the Western District Squash Meetings which include teams from Hamilton, Horsham, Ararat, Millicent, Mt Gambier and Naracoorte.

The Warrnambool club usually provides about 50 per cent of the attendance at these meets.

The club also has members who drive from out of Warrnambool, including Timboon, Cobden and Terang.

Although the smaller towns have squash courts, most are limited to between two to three courts, which means pennant sizes would be limited.

Action Fitness Club announced its closure last week fuelling speculation the city’s CFA station would be built at the site.

Last week when The Standard contacted part-owner Alan Thompson for comment on the closure he directed inquiries to the CFA.

At the time 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.

Tom Kelson, Penny Gunner and Shaun Stapleton are looking for a new place to play squash.

Tom Kelson, Penny Gunner and Shaun Stapleton are looking for a new place to play squash.


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