Commercial fitness operators will have to register with the City of Bendigo before operating in public parks.
Following a six-month trial, the Greater Bendigo City Council has adopted a new Fitness Operators Policy for businesses that conduct commercial operations in local parks, gardens and sporting reserves.
The new policy means commercial fitness operators will now need to obtain a permit to conduct their operations at local parks, gardens and reserves.
City of Greater Bendigo active and healthy lifestyles manager Lincoln Fitzgerald said an increase in the number of commercial fitness operators in recent years had prompted the City to develop the policy.
“The six-month trial conducted by the City relied on operators to voluntarily register their commercial activity, and for the industry to self-regulate compliance with limited support from City staff. This was done to allow the trial to take place with no fees and to limit the costs associated with its enforcement,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
“During the trial period, 13 businesses registered as regular providers and three as casual providers. However, the City understands there is a number of other fitness businesses operating on public land without permission and any regulation of their activities.
“During and after the trial, the City consulted with those impacted by the policy including commercial fitness operators, class participants, park users and City staff responsible for maintaining the public space and enforcing the policy.
“Overall, consultation supported a more regulated approach to ensure an equitable, protected, respected and consistent industry.
“The City recognises that commercial fitness operators do provide a range of alternative physical recreation activities for residents that would otherwise not be available. However, the policy places conditions on the types of equipment and activities that can take place.
“The aim of the new policy is to manage these activities in a manner that balances industry needs, provides protection of public built and natural assets and maintains community access and amenity to these facilities.”
The new policy will be integrated within the review of the City’s Local Law Number 5 Municipal Places which is set to be reviewed late 2017.
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