New fitness centre could be ready by this fall; Newmarket considering new ‘REC pass’ with expanded programs

The Town of Newmarket is planning to create a new fitness centre within the Ray Twinney Recreation Complex, similar to the one currently offered at the Magna Centre.

Council approved a staff report today, June 26, about converting Ray Twinney’s multipurpose room to a fitness centre as early as this fall. 

Ward 7 Councillor Christina Bisanz said it is positive news for the area community, which will be able to access fitness services without having to go to the other side of town at the Magna Centre.

“It hasn’t gone unnoticed by other residents that (the Magna Centre fitness centre) is now a very cost-effective as well as well-run centre,” Bisanz said. “There will be a number of residents happy they don’t need to necessarily have to get into their car to drive to Magna … to be able to participate in fitness activities.” 

The staff report said this stands to be a relatively low-cost venture, thanks to the town being able to buy out used equipment previously leased for the Magna Centre for $1 at the end of the lease term. The town estimates the project will cost about $135,000, including $75,000 for room modification costs, offset by a potential $150,000 in membership revenues based on a “conservative” 1,200-member estimate. Magna Centre fitness centre has more than 5,000 members at present.

“Given that the financial impact will be positive and the service to our community will be enhanced, this is an opportune time to proceed with the addition of a fitness centre,” the staff report said.

With the change, the staff report suggests that the current fitness membership pass, which includes access to drop-in programs, public swims and more, could be rebranded to a “REC pass.” The report said staff was already examining expanding offerings on the membership in the fall to include youth centre drop-in programs and Newmarket Seniors’ Meeting Place fitness programs.

Mayor John Taylor said the town has plenty of plans for recreation over the next decade, but this is something positive that can happen soon and at virtually no additional cost to the town. 

“It utilizes a space in a facility that has the ability to support this. I think it’s a great use of taxpayer dollars,” Taylor said.

Bisanz said although she thinks residents will likely be pleased, the town needs to be able to address questions and concerns. She said those could come up around what kind of impact it this will have on the building. She suggested there would also be questions about alternative uses, such as why a gym is not being put in as well.

Director of recreation and culture Colin Service said this will be an internal repurposing of a room in the building, so there will be no construction impact on the exterior. He said there will be some more usage of the back parking lot for fitness centre patrons and staff could do a mail campaign and public information session about the plan.

Ward 6 Councillor Kelly Broome said that based on the Magna Centre fitness centre, she trusts the Ray Twinney will be equally as effective in terms of equipment.

“Residents there will definitely appreciate having a second option,” she said. “I’m looking forward to participating and getting this across the finish line.” 

By admin