by Colin Campbell
THE north’s most important centre for health and wellbeing outside the NHS, Inverness Leisure, is set for a rapid return to near normality.
There are also expansion plans for the gym area in the coming months to substantially increase capacity.
With restrictions being eased more exercise machines will become available for use.
And it is expected that the long awaited reopening of changing rooms with the use of showers will happen shortly.
These facilities have been closed since the centre shut down at the beginning of the pandemic l6 months ago. Their lack of availability has been a significant deterrent to people returning.
Although numbers attending the leisure centre have picked up, they are still far below the level of activity before the coronavirus struck.
Currently pre-booking is necessary and customers have to depart at the end of one hour sessions.
A general easing of restrictions should mean the centre begins to return to pre-virus normality and end the “fast exit” ruling.
There will also be an increase in gym capacity in the next few months.
The weights area is to be extended, and the section for cardio, treadmills, stationary bikes and rowing machines, is to be expanded into what was formerly the restaurant area.
The restaurant section is currently being used for cardio workouts but it is planned to make the change permanent.
The restaurant, with reduced capacity, will to be moved to the wet (swimming pool) side of the building.
High Life Highland, who run Inverness Leisure, have already shown they are fully capable of rising to the challenges of the past 16 months since the leisure centre was first forced to close its doors.
A return to something close to full normality – with changing rooms, showers and chat – should see customers flooding back.
That would be a massive boost for a venue which is hugely important to health and wellbeing in the Highland capital.