Ageing Fort’s gym ‘is like a ghost town’
GYM users at Fort Regent are joining other fitness clubs after becoming increasingly ‘dismayed’ with health and safety issues at the ageing facility, a long-term Active-card holder has said.
Islander Alan Morris, who worked in the construction industry and has trained at the Fort for 11 years, said that morale was sinking among gym users as sections, such as the free-weights area, had been closed off due to concerns about asbestos contamination.
Following tests, the States confirmed that the Fort was safe to use, but Mr Morris, who goes to the gym several times a week, said that he, and others, felt that they had not been fully informed about the degree of risk or how long it would take for closed-off sections to reopen.
‘There’s just a complete lack of information and it’s not just among the gym users. The lower-level staff don’t seem to know anything either,’ he said.
‘There are far fewer facilities that you can use now. The free-weights area has been blocked off with a black wall and users aren’t allowed to go in there anymore because they are told that it is dangerous.
‘Staff are still going in there though, and we have asked why they are allowed to do so if it is considered dangerous – but we are getting no answers. Recently they moved a squat frame that came from one of the shut-off areas. I asked the staff whether it was dangerous to use and I didn’t get an answer.’
This week it emerged that Legionella bacteria, which can cause Legionnaire’s Disease, had also been discovered in the showers at Fort Regent.
Mr Morris said that he only found out about the contamination through the media, which added to his concerns about the standards of communication when it came to gym users. ‘We haven’t been able to use the changing rooms and showers for three months. They put signs up saying that it is because they are being refurbished,’ he said. ‘They didn’t said anything about it [possibly] being infected with Legionnaire’s. The first I heard of that was on the radio this week.’
He added that while he was dissatisfied with the Fort at this time, he did not want to move to another gym.
‘I am reluctant to get a membership elsewhere because the Fort has been such a good facility for so many people,’ he said.
‘But it seems like half the people are using it now compared to the number which used to. It used to be buzzing after work – now it is like a ghost town. At the moment you can use any of the equipment without having to wait. You used to have to schedule in advance because it was so busy. I feel very dismayed. I would like to see the Fort restored to what it was.’
The States were contacted for comment about the matter raised by Mr Morris but had not responded at the time of writing.