New rules for park boot camps

HURSTVILLE Council has drafted a policy to manage the use of parks and reserves by group fitness instructors and personal trainers in the local government area.The proposed policy, which is on public exhibition until June 22, is a response to the increasing numbers of personal trainers using outdoor spaces.

“At the moment we don’t have a policy and we thought it would be best to put it out for exhibition,” Hurstville mayor Steve McMahon said.

“These are public parks that are not designed for private use, so we need a policy. We will take feedback from people concerned about outdoor activity and from the personal trainers who run these sessions.”

Some of the points from the proposed policy follow the lead of neighbouring councils which require personal trainers to be licensed, submit a written application to use outdoor spaces, and provide the council with a copy of their public liability cover.

Sosaia Hema, owner of Hematime Fitness at Peakhurst, occasionally holds outdoor boot camps at Olds Park, Penshurst, and said a policy would be fair if the fees were reasonable.

“I think it’s quite fair in terms of the general upkeep of public parks and reserves,” Mr Hema said.

“I also think it’s OK to regulate when sessions are held outdoors especially for the sake of nearby residents.”

The personal trainer said his earliest sessions were at 7am and anything earlier was held at his studio.

“If the fees are too high then it will be harder for personal trainers to use outdoor facilities and it will impact on the clients,” Mr Hema said.

Oatley trainer Sean Connell, owner of Real Results Fitness, often uses Oatley Memorial Gardens for training sessions with his clients. He pays Kogarah Council $625 a year to hold four to 11 classes a week on a nominated day and time slot.

“I support the policy 100 per cent,” Mr Connell said.

“Having a policy helps protect my business. Residents know who is using the park and if there’s ever a complaint then someone can be held accountable.”

Cr McMahon said fees would be determined after feedback.

COMPARISON< p>Kogarah Council charges businesses conducting one-on-one training $260 a year, for each park.

Rockdale Council doesn’t have a one-on-one personal training fee. It charges $12.05 a session for at least three sessions a week, or $8.05 for at least five sessions a week. Sutherland Shire Council charges individual trainers $110 a year. Businesses employing five or more trainers are charged $75.

St George and Sutherland Shire Leader.