Flood-hit West Auckland gym races to reopen

Source: 1News

A west Auckland gym devastated by flooding and months of lockdown is racing to finish their new space ahead of the Covid-19 traffic light system kicking in.

On August 30 this year, gym owner Rob Keegan's phone began buzzing non-stop. The area had just had its second wettest day since records began, and the town was flooded.

The bottom of their family home was flooded, and Keegan was beginning to clean it out when he discovered that the floodwaters had rushed through the gym that he and his wife Cassie ran.

They had been in the industry for 25 years, and the news was devastating.

"It took us nine hours to get there from home because every time we came, we couldn't get through - the water was too high or the police turned us around because there were power lines in the waters," he said.

The couple filmed what they found when they arrived at their gym, to share with their 1000 members.

"I think there was three inches of mud through the whole gym, all our supplement shop was still floating in water.

"It was pretty devastating."

Rob Keegan.

While also dealing with the financial and mental impact of harsh lockdown restrictions which forced the facility to shut, Keegan began overseeing a massive renovation project, as well as looking after his team of trainers and other staff.

"All the builders, every tradesman, all came out of lockdown so they were already behind six to 10 weeks," he said.

"Finding tradespeople and getting them organised was an absolute mission."

But he said they were on the home stretch. The building work was mostly completed, and when 1News visited on Thursday, a truck full of gym equipment had arrived.

"We have grabbed, scratched and begged for gear to get us going wherever we can find it," he said.

A truck full of gym equipment arrives at a West Auckland gym.

Two more containers of equipment from Los Angeles were stuck somewhere on a ship.

As Auckland moves into the Covid Protection Framework, businesses across the city are preparing to reopen and navigate using the new Covid-19 vaccine pass.

"We have set out a rule for all of our members they have decided to opt in or opt out - if they decided to opt out, we graciously cancel their membership on that spot.

"For us, it's about people, it's about the community environment - we just want to be back amongst everyone."

The team hoped to have the gym open on Monday.

Gym equipment set up at the West Auckland gym run by Rob Keegan and his wife Cassie.

In the central city, restaurant Mekong Baby were having their first in-person staff meeting in more than three months.

"Thank you so much," owner Marcin Kulak told his staff.

"Most of you stayed with us. We lost a few people, but thank you for being with us for the last three months."

From Friday, restaurants like Mekong Baby can have customers dining inside with social distancing and a 100-person cap.

"We've survived, we're here and healthy and alive and we can just move on," he said.

Having gone through several previous lockdowns, Kulak said his team was well-prepared.

"We've got fantastic bi-fold windows around that are going to be open every day, so it'll have great ventilation - we're going to put all the measures in place to make sure it's all OK," he said.

"So, the red [light] in the end is not very bad for us."

The country moves to the Covid-19 Protection Framework at 11.59pm on Thursday.