October 26, 2020 – A Message from Municipal Council – Sioux Narrows – Nestor Falls Fitness Centres
Under current Pandemic conditions, the Sioux Narrows – Nestor Falls Fitness Centres remain closed. We cannot operate them under their previous model; membership only access, equipment wiped down by patrons, and entering and exiting on a self-managing, honor system.
There are centres that are open in the region, we know. The difference between these centres and ours, is that they are staffed. If there are public centres operating under different arrangements, without staff on site, we cannot speak to those. We can only speak to the protocols that we have worked with the department of public health to clarify. Self-cleaning before and after use by members is not sufficient, nor is voluntary cleaning or asking persons to not enter the centre and wait for a user to exit before another one enters.
As said, this cannot be carried out by members on a voluntary basis. Our agency is obligated, by the province and department of public health, to ensure these measures are being followed.
The cost implications of changing our operating procedures to permit use would dramatically change the schedule, the availability of use would be limited and, most of all, the user fees would have to increase exponentially.
As well, there are only a few allowable models of Pandemic safety; one that would require significant capital changes to enclose equipment in plexiglass booths, one that would require much equipment to be removed to ensure the required physical distancing between stations or one that would require seriously reduced operating hours and bookings so that only one person is scheduled/able to be in the centre at a time ~ all of these would still require onsite staff during all operating hours, not only to monitor usage and scheduling, but to sanitize the entire space between each use.
Council has determined, at this time, that they are not prepared to change the operating procedures, nor do they wish to increase the user fees to cover the costs of the changes such as would be required by us to open and operate according to pandemic guidelines. Changing the structure and fees would take away from the intent of the municipally operated fitness centres; not to compete with private sector services, but to offer a good quality, basic compliment of equipment at an affordable rate.
We understand how disappointing and frustrating this is to our loyal fitness centre members and we sincerely apologize for this. Our lives have changed dramatically and fundamentally due to COVID-19. We remain committed to public safety. We are looking forward to the time when we will be able to restore our municipal fitness centre services as soon as it is possible and safe to do so.
Thank you for your continued patience.
The township believes our provision of low-cost, high-quality fitness centre facilities to residents is a positive step towards building a stronger, healthier community. We have two municipal fitness centres, both of which are outfitted with high quality cardio and weight training equipment, thanks to the Ontario Trillium Foundation. One centre is located at the Sioux Narrows Township Office on Highway 71 and the other is on Mortimer Road in Nestor Falls.
Please inquire about non-resident rates (if you do not live in Sioux Narrows or Nestor Falls, but in a nearby community, you may use our facilities)