The users of a fitness facility in Mooroopna have been left disappointed after learning it is set to close by the end of the year.By John Lewis
Older swimmers at a Mooroopna heated pool that has operated for more than 30 years have been left disappointed and angry at the sudden announcement it will close.
Shepparton nurse Jeanette Thompson, who attends aqua classes at the Leopard Fitness gym in McLennan St, said she was ‘‘gobsmacked’’ to hear this week the property had been sold and the pool at the rear of the building would close by December 15.
‘‘People have been coming here for years. It’s a little more personal for people who feel self-conscious, and it’s used by young mums and schools as well,’’ Mrs Thompson said.
‘‘It’s incredible to imagine that such a valuable asset for folk of all ages in Mooroopna and surrounding areas is to come to an end. What can be done?’’
Stanhope’s Chris Berri said people travelled from surrounding small towns, such as Murchison, Undera, and Tatura, to use the facility.
‘‘People come here for all sorts of health reasons. I have polymyalgia and I can’t be in cold water, it causes me pain,’’ Ms Berri said.
She said she had been attending sessions at the pool for 20 years.
Building owner Daphne Freeman said she had been forced to sell the premises to consolidate her property investments following the death of her husband Stuart more than three years ago.
She has owned the McLennan St property for 32 years.
She said a Melbourne company about to buy the building would operate a retail business and had no interest in running a gym or pool facility.
‘‘It’s disappointing for me that I have to sell the building, and it’s very sad for the town — schools will have to bus students to Shepparton,’’ Mrs Freeman said.
Damian Fleming, who has leased the business for the past 18 months, said he employed about 10 casual swimming instructors and a group fitness instructor.
He said following the sale of the business, he intended to undergo further training as a fitness instructor.
‘‘It’s all quite unfortunate,’’ Mr Fleming said.
Mrs Berri called on Greater Shepparton City Council to help out.
‘‘Why hasn’t the council leased it or bought it for the public?’’ she said.
Mrs Freeman supported the call.
‘‘Council needs to stand up and do something for the town,’’ she said.
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