WORKERS who have spent almost six months in limbo have spoken of their frustration and sense of loss since the closure of the Myuna Bay Sport and Recreation Centre.
Speaking to the Newcastle Herald on the condition of anonymity, due to their contracts preventing media interaction, staff members detailed the impact that the closure has had on their lives.
They spoke of lack a communication from the Office of Sport, their mistrust in the state government agency's hierarchy and feeling like just another number.
The centre closed on March 29 after Origin Energy informed the Office of Sport of its concerns about the integrity of the nearby power station's ash dam wall.
A review ordered by Sports Minister John Sidoti then returned in July before it was sent for further analysis to assess the risk, and whether it could be managed.
While casual staff were immediately out of a job, about 15 ongoing staff have been on special leave since.
Many have struggled with the time away from the routine and activity of their jobs, and the uncertainty of their futures.
"It's been awful," one worker said. "I've been up and down. I never realised that it could effect you so much.
"Last week I was pretty low, and it's not really like me to get like that.
"When it first happened I couldn't even follow a recipe to cook a meal, you're just scattered."
Staff say the waiting game has been one of the most difficult aspects of the closure.
"Being in limbo is the worst," a worker said.
"People say, 'oh, you're getting paid, that's amazing', and it is good and it could be a lot worse, but even waiting for this next report I'm still waking up everyday going, 'oh, maybe we will hear today'.
"You just want it to be done."
Another said the belief there is more to the story, spurred from a lack of information about the closure, has been a crippling thought dwelling in the mind.
The Office of Sport has previously been critcised for its communication regarding the closure, and staff said internal dialogue was also poor.
"None of us trust them," one worker said.
Another questioned why head office hadn't assigned a delegate to be a point of contact for staff.
"The way it's played out has been diabolical," they said.
"There's been very little compassion. I don't think everyone's in a terribly good space mental health wise."
Myuna Bay staff say they are a tight bunch who are looking out for each other but the sense of loss, for both them and to the community, has been hard to accept.
"The kids, there's so much they get out of camp. That's what we do it for. It's nothing to do with making money. It's for the kids," one said.
"The people that work at Myuna Bay are people that love working together and are committed to their jobs. Everyone loves being there."
A second review that will determine the centre's future is expected to be handed down this month.