Councillor Lyn Serventy has called on the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River to review reinstating a disability membership category for its gym after an impassioned deputation by resident Stewart Burton at last Wednesday’s council meeting.
The disability pensioner said he could no longer afford to pay membership at the recreation centre gym, which had doubled after the council voted to discontinued its disability and concession membership categories last year.
“For someone on disability support benefits this is a great expense, ” Mr Burton said. “My physical opportunities are limited without access to the gym.”
Mr Burton said the Shire’s decision to bin the discount, which was only taken up by two people last year, was hypocritical given they received a Count Me In grant from the Federal Government’s Disability Services Commission to improve access and inclusion for recreation and sporting opportunities for people with disabilities and their families.
Corporate and community services director Annie Riordan was unable to confirm how much money the Shire received from the grant when questioned by Cr Jenny McGregor, but said the money was used to fund danceability and acrobility classes for disabled residents.
Mrs Riordan said it was possible the disability concession cancellation “slipped their notice” and it could be reviewed for inclusion again next year. Off-peak memberships to the Shire’s gymnasium were also cancelled.