PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 January, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 January, 1997, 12:00am

My latest experience with the Urban Council's Gold Card Scheme was unbelievable. Unlike many young expatriates in Hong Kong, I am employed on local terms and am not blessed with the bumper salaries that could go towards a private gym membership.

Much as I would like to join these clubs, I have no choice and therefore applied to the Urban Council's scheme.

Registration is simple, just fill in the form and post it.

Then wait six weeks until you can take an assessment to see if you are told to wait a further two weeks for notification of your result.

On receiving your result, you then have to wait a further two days before picking up the card. Quite an arduous process, but I persevered.

The fitness room is advertised as being open from 7am to 11pm.

On arriving at the Quarry Bay gym room on Monday, I looked at the timetable and it appeared that for the next few days the room was block booked for 11 out of the 16 hours it is open.

When it is block-booked, I cannot use it.

Tickets for the gym can only be bought for hourly sessions.

The remaining five hours that were available were 11am to 3pm (when I am working) and 10pm to 11pm.

Sunday appeared to be the only day of no bookings.

All I want to do is work out before I go to the office in the morning, preferably in a district close to my home. It seems that the Urban Council has overlooked a basic need and I wonder why I cannot share the facilities with the block bookings.

I feel cheated after having spent over two months trying to get this card, because I was never told about this restricted access to the gym.

Why is the Urban Council making it very difficult for hard-working people to exercise regularly in its fitness rooms? W.H. FAULKNER Quarry Bay