I would like to take this opportunity just to clarify a couple of points reported in Friday’s Yukon News.
The $57.75 rate quoted in the July 24 Yukon News is applicable to one or two per cent of our membership. This is for those who purchase one month and one month only. We offer term memberships (two, three, four, six months, etc.) at prices around the $42.50 per month range depending on the package purchased.
By far, the bulk of our memberships are permanent memberships (75 per cent) and those prices range from $39.50 to $45.50 per month with no other fees or charges applicable. In addition, dependants ages 14,15 and 16 receive a membership for $25 per month.
Our senior fees are $22 per month, again with no other fees applicable. We have a good representation of seniors at our facility, as well. We have squash programs with participation as young as six or seven years of age.
We have never stated that there is not a place for a wellness component at the multiplex. We understand and agree with the need for a taxpayer-funded facility that is aimed at parents or entry-level fitness participants or even those who simply wish a workout after swimming. That was the essence of our conversation with the city in the beginning.
Their stand was that there was an entire market that does not go to private centres that was waiting for the multiplex and that would be their niche. We disagreed with that, saying our concern was that while the market was there to some degree, the centre would run at a huge loss and eyes would turn to the private sector for its members and revenue.
We were told straight up that would not happen, but as it turns out we were correct. The simple fact is the city has to find a way of paying the costs of the multiplex even if it is at the detriment of private business now.
The other fact is that they could probably take all our members, all Peak Fitness’ members and all Curves’ members and still not pay the operating costs of the facility.
As noted in the paper, and brought forward by an individual, we are constantly searching for other avenues of increasing our revenues. We have, and have had prior to the multiplex, fitness classes, spinning, personal training including body composition testing, programming and other industry standards and are always looking at ways to improve.
Should the multiplex not be held to the same, or an even higher standard, and find other ways of creating revenues? Ways that limit its impact on established business? Why does the private sector have to negotiate around what the city offers, especially since the private sector was here pre-multiplex? The multiplex simply follows what is already available in the private sector regardless of consequence to the business in an effort to pay its bills. They offer nothing new, simply what is available elsewhere. Why? Because they want the members!
Are they enhancing the community wellness component? Not really, it’s quite simply a membership drive. That is completely acceptable and expected from a private competitor but the questions remain simply: Should the city compete with private business either in the fitness market or any other market? Should it at least have the responsibility to have a discussion with those that are affected? Why is the multiplex in this position?
Lastly, we did not go the press with our concerns. We simply posed questions to mayor and council and city management as to what we may expect from the city and its direction. Our concerns were raised at a council meeting, as there were some who wanted a little more information as well.