By Carolyn Sloan
Since opening this Spring, the Lifeplex Wellness Centre in Cornwallis sees an average of 100 to 150 users weekdays and over 200 on the weekends, coming from as far away as Weymouth and Nictaux.
It’s a good sign, says general manager Marc Phillips, who notes that the feedback the centre has received thus far has been overwhelmingly positive. Beyond the physical benefits of the facility, he is extremely pleased with the social and supportive environment that is being created by both members and staff. “It’s not just the physical, and that’s extremely important,” says Phillips. “You see people here from the senior community to the youth community that are together in the pool at the same time. You’ll see various ages, various stages in life – working people…retired people…stay at home moms – they’re all here kind of intermingling, socializing and creating that bond in the community sense.”
Phillips says that the centre now employs about 18 people, with five to six full time staff, and is now runs a wide variety of programs, from aquafit and aerobics classes to swimming and lifesaving lessons. With an indoor walking track, fitness studio and swimming pool, he says that the beauty of the facility is that there it has something to offer for everyone. “It’s really kind of heartwarming to watch the individuals com in here,” says Phillips. “That’s the uniqueness of this place, that it does allow anybody to come in, at any time, in any shape, and to find something that they can participate in. “There are a variety of options here, and when you come in here, there’s all shapes and sizes which is wonderful to see.”
While the research component of Lifeplex has yet to be fully developed, the centre has been collecting information on usage of the facility, laying the groundwork to attract potential partners with an interest in studying rural population health. “We think it’s going to take us at least a year to determine what kind of patterns there are,” says Phillips. “We think that there’s going to be an opportunity, once that information is developed, to do some base studies here.”
The centre is planning its grand opening in mid to late August, as there are still final touches such as signage and parking area improvements, that need to be addressed. In the meantime, Phillips has been working with local employers and organizations such as fire departments, schools and hospitals, to draw new users to the facility. “We’ve started to develop a program to attract businesses to become partners in the sense that we’ll offer a special rate to them through their employees,” he says.
Phillips notes that the Annapolis Basin Conference Centre has purchased 20 annual passes for to be used by its guests throughout the year. As he is also the general manager of ABCC, Phillips has been actively promoting Lifeplex as an asset for people coming to the conference centre.
In terms of community outreach, the centre created the Splash Campaign, which awarded prizes to kids for their drawings of the facility, as well as the “Name the Waterslide” competition, which will run until September. Phillips adds that the centre is also developing a water safety program for the schools in the region.
Capital Campaign update
With approximately $100,000 raised to date, the Lifeplex capital campaign has been slow-going, in part due to difficulties in obtaining a tax number for charitable donations.
However, according to Basin Wellness Society chair Greg Kerr, this problem has been solved, as the county has now agreed to issue receipts.
Annapolis County assumed ownership of the building a year ago under the agreement that the society would fundraise the $2.6 million provided to complete construction of the centre. The capital campaign office is now looking at a 5-year timetable for long-term refunding, and is planning several fundraisers this year including a golf tournament in June and the annual Walk for Wellness, which will likely take place at the facility’s own walking track.
Lifeplex opening a success
Initial user numbers encouraging, says Phillips
By Carolyn Sloan
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