Dear Hepburn Shire Council,

This open letter to you is to tell our story and to give you insight to the impacts your actions have made on our community after the immediate closure of Daylesford CrossFit. The four walls that make our dirty old shed at 21 Raglan street Daylesford have seen 3 and half years of daily triumph and if these walls could talk they would tell stories of the best parts of community, a community that your organisation could only dream about providing for your townships, but we built it hear at Daylesford CrossFit.

I moved into 21 Raglan street Daylesford in June 2017 with a dream to start a business that would build a community that supports and helps each other to change their lives to be longer, healthy and happier lives. I invested my life savings from my time in the army which the two operational deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan allowed me to save. These four walls would tell stories of an exhausted man lying on the flaw in tears, broken by 60-hour weeks and a profit margin of $200 a week. These four walls would tell stories of a man arriving to work at 0530hrs day after day for 3 years and not knowing if he will pay the bills or last another week. These four walls would also tell a story of a man who has worked through a year of lockdowns and business closures to see his dream hang on by a string. Then to make it out to the other side, see his business thriving only to be closed by his local council.

The members of our gym range from the ages 3 years old to 70 years old. The members of our gym are girls, boys, men and women of the Daylesford community. They are builders, bankers, teaches, students, business owners, mothers, fathers and come from many backgrounds and walks of life.

These four walls would tell stories of 3-year-old kids being bribed and dragged out of the gym by their parents because the kids don’t want to leave. These four walls would tell stories of Grandparents becoming inspirations to their grandchildren from their handstands and pull ups.

Our Kids program sees youth of Daylesford run down after school to be the first one to the gym and find out what the workout for the day is. These four walls would tell stories of shy, quiet and un-confident kids growing to be strong healthy and empowered young adults. These four walls have seen the change in the trajectory of their lives. These four walls echo kids’ laughter every day.

These four walls would tell stories of chronic diseases that will never manifest by changes in the lives of our members.

For the past year I have worked with NDIS in capacity building for local residents of the Daylesford Community with disabilities. These four walls would tell stories of first words spoken by autistic members in three years, stories of members reaching the goal of being able to feed themselves and stories of members with cerebral palsy walking around the gym.

These four walls would tell stories of Daylesford residents suffering from depression and anxiety who now no longer need medication or therapy due to the support network and happiness these walls provide.

The Hepburn Shire Council has ceased all of these stories and the potential of future stories by closing us down. I understand town planning and zoning and I am not saying that I am in the right, but there has been confusion in the past in what I am allowed to do and that has led us to this point.

All I ask for is time.

Time to find a suitable location for my community to continue and for me to make a wage so I can pay my bills and feed my child.

Our mission at Daylesford CrossFit is to make every member a healthier and happier person for being a part of our family. I work hard every day to keep true to this mission and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.

I plead with you today to help my community, don’t turn your back on us and let this all fall apart.

All I ask for is time. Grant me that and I will go quietly back to the shadows of our tourism town and continue making the residents happier and healthier.

Kind Regards,

Lachlan Hawker

Owner/Head Coach

Daylesford CrossFit