I doubt any of what I am about to write will be taken in by any of those involved, but it is worth a try.
Fort Regent used to be a ‘go-to place’ for all ages, but is now being continuously questioned and dismissed by both many locals and The States themselves. To me this is hasty to say the least, and there are many who whilst the current situations at Fort Regent have frustrated them, go to the Fort as part of their day-to-day routines. If it is closed down completely, like many locals believe it should be (many of these haven’t stepped foot into the Fort in many years), the regular Fort goers will see it as a big loss. There are many ways in which Fort Regent can be saved, and the obvious way is to bring back Fort Regent of the old back to life.
For a start, as a gym-goer at Fort Regent, and have been for four years now, and previously going for many years, when attending their once popular ‘Junior Gym’ classes as a youngster, Fort Regent on a personal note is a big part of my life, along with many others’. This being said, over the past year the gym itself, and also the classes which are part of the ‘Active’ membership have been in decline due to many reasons. First of all it is a daily occurrence that signs such as ‘I am currently unwell, I will be back soon’ to be placed on gym equipment. These would often stay for a good few weeks. Is this because it is genuinely hard to repair them, or just the sheer stubbornness of the States to not help out in situations such as this? I think the latter.
The same could be said for the reasons behind the popular ‘Spinning’ classes dropping the number people who could attend the class, purely down to failure to repair the bikes. Even with these small negatives, however, the Fort’s gym has always been popular and available at a good price with gym users coming back daily, which goes largely under the radar, with the negatives often being in the headlines meaning the higher authorities only ever think of those. If the States provided the funds to bring in the latest equipment for both the gym and classes these issues would be non existent, which questions why they don’t support these small priced issues? Are they waiting for what they see as the inevitable, that being the closure of the building?
Fort Regent is also key in keeping the Jersey community involved in sport. Two examples are squash and badminton, with the Fort being one of very few places where you can play these sports, having multiple courts for each. If Fort Regent did close down, there would be uproar from people who regularly attend for these sports as they would have to spend higher membership fees at a one sport club such as the Squash Club or even join a badminton team, which very few people would do, as there is only one main club who welcome badminton players, with that being youngsters usually. As a result, sport participation would drop in the island, and with this in mind it would be crazy to close down Fort Regent. Simple really.
Finally, with rivals such as Les Ormes continuously revamping and introducing new factors to bring new costumers to their area, it could be asked why the States haven’t done the same with Fort Regent. Why haven’t they brought back the cable cars or a lift from Snow Hill area, which would attract and bring a wider range of people to the Fort? Why haven’t they revamped the crazy golf course on the ramparts, which would bring another activity for all ages? They don’t even need to create it, it’s still there so it wont cost them a lot of money? Finally, the swimming pool. Why haven’t they rebuilt and made use of the land, even reopening the swimming pool or putting something which would bring the Fort back to life? Les Ormes have done this, planning to create a trampoline park, albeit in a popular 5-aside football arena, which would have been perfect in the abandoned swimming pool building. This means that if Fort Regent were to close, 5-aside football and also ‘Walking football’ fans would be angry too. Fort Regent will be at its busiest over the Christmas period. This is simply because Ice Skate Jersey is located there, bringing people back and seeing it as an attracting place to be.
Everything is pointing towards revamping and bringing the Fort back to life, rather than closing it because of the bad publicity. They have the money, and the simple fact to it is, if they invest, Fort Regent could be seen as a big attraction, not only for tourists, but for locals.
As I said at the start, it isn’t likely any of this will be listened too, but it was worth a try. Just look at the poster below. We can have this back.