Take a look at the recreation facilities in urban areas and in smaller communities, and you’ll find that the lion’s share have fitness gyms — most of them large, bright, well-ventilated rooms that include weights, state-of-the art aerobic exercise machines, big-screen TVs and the like.
Squamish’s does not, and as a result, Brennan Park Recreation Centre, though well-used at certain times of the day, isn’t the beehive of activity that it could be.
Squamish council’s recent move toward adding a separate fitness facility is welcome news for a large segment of the community. If projections of revenue from such a facility are borne out by reality, the admission fees from such a facility should cover the cost of building it in something like five years — certainly less than a decade. Whatever the district winds up building, it’ll undoubtedly be a vast improvement on the three-piece, sweat-a-bucket-a-minute row of machines that stands alongside the pool now.
The impact of that facility on existing private gyms, while a concern, should not be a major factor in deciding what to put there and how big it should be. The community should build the best facility it can afford, with an eye toward attracting as many people from all walks of life as it can.
This writer is sympathetic to the plight of the private gym owners. However, those owners established their businesses knowing that a Brennan Park facility was a distinct possibility in the future. Will Brennan Park put one or more of them out of business? This writer is a firm believer in the power of competition to spark creative marketing and programs that attract those looking for the sort of niche-market service that most public facilities don’t, or can’t, provide.
Significant change is in the offing at municipal hall. The resignation of Kevin Ramsay as chief administrative officer on April 24, and this week’s parting-of-ways between the District of Squamish and GM of Community Services Cameron Chalmers, represent both an end and an opportunity to break with the past and start anew.
While we don’t yet know what led to Chalmers’ departure, we can only speculate that issues raised during the recent Core Services Review may have played a role. We have nothing but praise for both Ramsay and Chalmers and wish them well in the future. Here’s hoping that Squamish’s lawmakers will set about the task of filling those two key positions determined to find dynamic, committed individuals who can listen and elucidate a clear vision of where Squamish needs to go.
— David Burke