CITY of Melville is facing a significant budget deficit because of waning attendance at its LeisureFit Centres.
In its mid-year budget review the City identified a shortfall of close to $290,000 on membership and casual fees as residents turn away from the centres in favour of private operators.
Melville chief executive Shayne Silcox said the LeisureFit Centres operated primarily to ensure the community could enjoy the benefit of healthy services and programs and aimed to break even or better to limit the financial burden on ratepayers.
“In the instance of LeisureFit Boorgaoon for example, the gym facility actually offsets the high costs of running the pool,” he said.
“In 2015-16 the City budgeted for a break even position, however we are currently projecting a downturn in attendance particularly at LeisureFit Melville, which could result in a year end net shortfall of $240,000 on fees.”
Dr Silcox pointed to a significant increase in the provision of private health and fitness services such as 24-hour gyms, personal training studios and group training sessions such as yoga, pilates and crossfit as the likely explanation for dwindling memberships.
“This trend overall is a win for our residents, who now have so many opportunities to be physically active which of course is vital for wellbeing,” he said.
“As a local government our role is to provide services for the community where they are needed, which means providing services that private industry does not.
“To do this well the City must regularly review the services provided and we are currently undergoing a strategic review, which includes assessing our vision and key strategic drivers which will help plan for the future of LeisureFit services.”
Dr Silcox indicated that a reduction in services was likely if the current trend continued.
“As part of the current strategic review process, we have identified there are services that are going very well and others where we will need to reduce duplication both across our Centres and the market place,” he said.
“This gives the City the opportunity to ensure we are providing programs and services where there may currently be gaps in terms of what the community needs.”