Peak Fitness pulled out of the Canada Games Centre in a closed-door meeting with city reps last week.
After a year of leasing equipment — including treadmills, elliptical trainers, stair-climbers, stationary bikes, rowing machines and free weights — to the centre, Peak has agreed to sell its gear to the city.
Negotiations for the sale were conducted privately at Peak’s request, said Whitehorse mayor Ernie Bourassa.
And, although the exact price of the transaction has not been released, Bourassa is “hopeful” the city will be able to make it public within the next few days.
“I see no reason why we wouldn’t; there’s nothing to hide in this particular case — it’s a win-win for both Peak and the city.”
Under the agreement, the city leased 36 pieces, or about 80 per cent of the equipment in the centre’s second-floor wellness centre, from Peak.
Instead of direct payment for use of the equipment, Peak agreed to take a cut of the centre’s monthly pass sales.
But when those sales didn’t meet projections, Peak found its share to be less than expected.
“We appreciated the opportunity to be involved in the first year of operations at the Canada Games Centre, but we feel that it is important for the city to take over all aspects of the fitness services at the facility,” Peak Fitness owner Lee Randell said in a release issued Tuesday.
Although Randell declined to comment on Wednesday morning, he told The News in an interview in June that the city was not putting enough time or money into running the facility.
“I don’t think the city is really satisfied with the situation there and neither are we,” he said.
“I would like to see more staffing in that space. I would like to see more support for brand new people coming in, and more supervision of the area, so there’s not kids running through the space and that the equipment is looked after,” said Randell.
“Because of the city’s budget issues, they are not able to put the money into the staffing that I’d like to see.”
The money to buy the equipment will come from the $230,000 fund the city budget originally allocated to build a stairway between the Canada Games Centre and the Mt. McIntyre trails.
(The stairway project was cancelled in July because it would not have been accessible to the disabled community.)
“But there will still be a fair chunk of money in that fund once all is said and done,” said Bourassa.
The original intention was to create a private/public partnership between the city and Peak to offer users of both the Canada Games Centre and Peak’s gym discounted user fees.
But, as they soon found out, athletes who use the Canada Games Centre, for the most part, do not belong to a private gym.
A recent random survey showed 82 per cent of users were not members of a private fitness club, according to a city release.
“This is a positive move for everyone,” parks and recreation manager Linda Rapp said in a release.
“It is common for municipal governments to provide fitness/wellness services in facilities such as ours, and any direct revenue from these programs will assist in offsetting operating costs.”
As of September 15, the city will own all the equipment and be responsible for all fitness programming in the wellness centre, but it will still honour Peak member discounts until the end of the month.
The city will now review the wellness centre’s programming and take some time to determine what changes to make to equipment or programming.
“At this point, we are waiting for our parks and rec. staff to come up with some programming ideas for it,” said Bourassa.
Currently there are no plans to bring in another partner to run the centre.