Gym looks for way forward after closure

David SalvaireSound Telegraph

A Wellard gymnasium that was forced to close after breaching zoning rules is working with the City of Kwinana to find a solution, following a flood of community support.

Fearwot Gym had been operating for six years at owner Jodie Lehman’s property before a neighbour complained in January, alerting the City to the breach.

The gym had about 80 clients and offered specialised training in short classes for people with personal issues like body dysmorphia and depression.

A retrospective application for the gym to be considered a home occupation – wellness centre was presented at last Wednesday’s council meeting.

More than 30 supporters packed the City chambers as councillors voted to delay a decision on the future of the gym until January.

In the coming weeks, Ms Lehman said she expected to meet with City officers to look at ways to keep the gym operating, including a possible move to the Casuarina Hall.

“The councillors that were there were excellent and we can’t wait to see what the meetings between now and January bring out,” she said.

“Every individual that attends Fearwot has a struggle story that prevents them from going to a commercial gym.

“If this facility shuts down, then these people will have nowhere to go and their health will go backwards.”

Mayor Carol Adams said the City would continue to offer support and guidance, while providing advice on the suitability of alternative sites but said there were no plans to amend the planning laws.

“This is an incredibly difficult situation for all involved and we absolutely sympathise with the owners and patrons of Fearwot — there is no doubt they are loyal and passionate,” she said.

“However, planning laws exist to protect and enhance the quality of life for all residents within a neighbourhood, so it is important we work together to try and find a legal solution.

“A question was asked during the council meeting about the Town Planning Scheme and how it influences permitted land uses. While general information was provided at the time, the City is not proposing to commence a scheme amendment.”

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