Benny Sports Centre gym to stay open for next year

CDN NDG Sports & Loisirs Director Claudine Perrault discusses Benny Center gym’s futur with avid members

During a recent meeting at the Benny Sports Centre, over 20 members – mostly seniors – listened carefully as NDG-CDN Ports & Leisure Director Claudine Perrault went on to reassure them that their local gym would remain open for at least another year.

“We’re not here for the money,” said Perrault. “We’re here to provide services for the citizens.”

With little more than a 100 square meters, a few ‘cardio’ machines, and a Nautilus exercise unit, Perrault admits that she was surprised by the reaction caused when the centre announced that it was thinking of closing the gym.

“It’s nice to see how many people like the gym,” she said. “We didn’t know that it was so popular, and now we’re going to do something about it.”

As one of the gym’s regular members, Brent Perry told The Suburban that there were lots of reasons why local seniors like their gym.

“For most of us, the price is right,” he said. “For others, there’s no stress, and no screens.”

As the gym is open for eight hours a day seven days a week, the centre’s fees ($20 per month) are roughly half – if not less — than what commercial gyms charge for similar services. While health issues also took up a large part of the conversation, Perry mentioned that the gym’s environment is “...a big plus” for many seniors who are intimidated by a younger, more competitive gym culture that doesn’t have a lot of time for them. While the gym’s trainers continue to be a big draw, another member (who wished to remain anonymous) said he liked the fact that there were no screens in the small room.

“I’m part of that generation that leaves the room when there’s something on a screen,” he said.

Others, including Robert Smith, said the gym was a life-saver that should be made available for anyone and everyone who has a few health issues due to age, their weight and a bad diet.

“I was told that I was pre – diabetic and that I should get some exercise,” said Smith. “I joined the gym, I lost some weight and now I’m in great shape.”

While there was some discussion about raising the gym’s fees for its services, Perrault repeated her assertion that “...our job is to offer services to borough residents.”

“We’re not here to make money,” repeated Perrault. “That’s not our job. We’re here to provide services to the borough’s residents.”

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