The Lakes Entrance Fitness Trail is fast becoming a reality.
After successfully being chosen in the Victorian-first community grants initiative, Pick My Project, the trail’s first piece of outdoor fitness equipment was installed at Apex Park on Marine Parade in mid 2018.
The fitness station at Apex Park included an aerobic walker, leg lift, dip bar, step up or push up bar, vault bar and agility ladder and was part of a plan to install multiple fitness stations along the town’s existing walking path, which follows North Arm on Marine Parade and Cunninghame Arm on the Esplanade.
After further planning, community feedback and work with the East Gippsland Shire, three locations at Evett Park, the iconic Lakes Entrance Footbridge and Apex Park were chosen to become fitness hubs.
At the hubs, which are within walking distance of each other, there will be a variety of equipment, targeting specific fitness groups of muscles that are easy and safe to use.
“With the original one at Apex Park we wanted to test the community to see if it was something that they really wanted,” Lakes Entrance Fitness Trail working committee member, Jennifer North, said.
“It has worked out really well. The first $30,000 we raised from the community without any grants.
“People could just see that there was an opportunity for it. We live in a dynamic community and it is Lakes Entrance’s time.
“We have been on the back foot on a lot of projects in the region. This one is engaging for the community and also great for visitors to the area. It is also great for businesses in the health sector that want to use it.
“It is going to be a really good piece of infrastructure for the town. We have got terrific local support from places like the bowls club, church groups and the footy club.
“Alan Bolding and Kevin Barling, who are also part of the committee, have been immense during the process. It has just been a wonderful process. Part of the project was to work collectively and collaboratively with the town.”
While the three-hub proposal deviates from what was originally planned, Jennifer believes it will be better for Lakes Entrance.
“We were originally looking at individual sites around the town, but then we looked at what is best practice and it turned out to be hubs,” she said.
“We have three special sites where there is going to be a hub and there is going to be between 12 to 14 things people can do at each.
“We have changed the colours too because we found blue blended and was just too cool. Colour is really important. We changed the colours to orange and grey.
“There is matting as well. We wanted to use best practice so it was really important that the impact on the body was looked after.
“You can start at the Footbridge and meander around the town. They are at fabulous points around the town so you can exercise and look at the environment. It all links into the walking paths.”
The trail will be usable by everyone thanks to a few clever innovations and a focus on easy access.
“We didn’t double up on anything,” Jennifer said.
“There is a piece of equipment at the Footbridge and at Apex Park that we doubled up on. That has changed and each piece of equipment is designed for a wide range of age and abilities.
“It is manufactured in Australia and we are really happy with the company that is building it. They are doing a double dipping of the equipment to make it last longer in the salt water.
“Anyone can come along and use it, even if you are in a wheel chair. It is all abilities, but if you are right into your exercise it also caters for you.
“The equipment has a diagram that explains how it operates, but if you are unsure you can use your smartphone and click on the QR code, which will give an instant video.”
Jennifer reassured the public they would not have to wait long before they start seeing the fitness hubs appear.
“The company is coming down from the Yarra Valley and will check the design work so that they are comfortable with what they will deliver,” she said.
“They are meeting with all the components of the project and then it should be finished in September. Then we will be looking at a public launch in November.
“Our partner organisation is Gippsland Lakes Community Health so that has been really great. We had to make sure the budgets were all intact.
“The relevant permits and approvals are all in place so once we start to do it nothing is going to hold us back.”
PICTURED: Three new fitness hubs will be installed at Apex Park, Evatt Park and the Footbridge, forming the Lakes Entrance Fitness Trail.