Little enthusiasm for Dalplex cardio fee reduction

Dalplex continues to charge students for using cardio equipment at set times.

Dalplex’s Regan Hines says as long as you swipe your access card by 10:29 you’re free to use the Cardio Plus Centre without upgrading your membership. Photo: Peter Marrack

Dalplex administrators have slashed an unpopular access fee for its cardio workout room but some students say facilities are inadequate even at the reduced price.

Prior to the fall of this year, students paid $140 per academic year to access the Cardio Plus Centre at the Dalplex gym.

The centre spans the size of a small classroom, overlooks the pool and houses the facility’s treadmills, stationary bikes and elliptical machines.

As of September, however, Dalplex nixed the $140 in favor of “non-primetime windows” - during which students can access the cardio centre as part of their basic activity fee.

Those windows are:

  • between 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. weekdays
  • and 8:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. on weekdays, and
  • 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. on weekdays.

If students wish to access the center beyond those times, they can upgrade their membership for $49 per academic term or $89 for the year.

Dalplex public relations spokesperson, Sean Fraser, says they made the changes on account of complaints by students.

But students say they’re still not satisfied.

Students not satisfied

A third-year sociology/theatre major at Dalhousie, Nora Beqaj, says of the allotted times, “That’s the main reason I don’t work out here. Before I knew about the new times I signed up at GoodLife Fitness. It’s much better. Or I just go to the Sexton gym.”

A membership at GoodLife on Spring Garden Road runs a student $23.95 every two weeks.

Beqaj’s friend, Justine Sansterre, a fourth year international development student, shares her friend’s concern.

“The machines aren’t the best quality. And I’m never at school during the free times. It’s really inconvenient.”

Nicole Brown, a kinesiology student at Dalhousie, says it would be nice to work out during non-primetime, “but this is the only time I can work out.” She pays the extra $49 per term.

New Facility

Because the cardio center is considered an extra amenity, the original $140 was on top of an $85 activity fee all full-time Dalhousie students pay as part of their tuition – which covers their general membership at Dalplex.

Fraser says the alternative hours are to placate students until a new gym facility is built – which has been in the works since 2010, included in Dalhousie’s Strategic Focus plan.

Bill Jones says he tries to make it to the track three times a week even though he owns a treadmill at home. Photo: Peter Marrack

The current cardio centre lacks the space and proper equipment to allow for unlimited access, he says.

“We met with technical consultants last month. We’ll have a meeting in another month’s time when we get those results back. The project requires a lot of planning, so we’re looking at at least a couple years, maybe three, before we start construction.”

The location of this new facility has been narrowed down to four potential areas, one being the former site of Memorial Arena. Fraser says students will pay an additional $180 facility fee, on top of the $85 activity fee, to contribute to the construction of that facility.

“It’s to be an all-inclusive gym,” says Fraser. “There will be no restrictions on cardio.”

Of course, there are alternatives to the cardio centre.


The Cybex Circuit room down the hall from the cardio centre houses a handful of spinning bikes and the indoor running track offers a more dynamic alternative to the treadmill. The track was recently resurfaced with synthetic rubber to reduce shock.

Bill Jones, a trades supervisor with facilities management at Dalhousie, swears by it. “I own a treadmill at home,” he says. “But I leave that for my wife. The track is much better on the body.”

Still, Dalplex remains the only university gym in Halifax that charges its students for access to cardio equipment – equipment they help pay for. 



2 thoughts on “Little enthusiasm for Dalplex cardio fee reduction

  1. Question for you…do you run outside ever for wkuoorts? I know there is a big debate about which is “better” and was just curious how you feel about running on a treadmill vs outside.

    1. Personally, Mara, as soon as the cold worsens to the extent that my ears ache and I cough up awful yucky stuff from my throat in agonizing pain, I move indoors. My mother, on the other hand, is much tougher and runs outside all winter. I believe it’s personal preference. I find some people’s respiration systems struggle to accommodate the winter chill.

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