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$1000 fee has mums up in arms

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by vic, Oct 20, 2008.

  1. Some councils need more than just a rocket.

    THE Bay City Strollers are not happy. The group of new mothers who exercise at a Clifton Hill park face an abrupt demise similar to the 1970s tartan-clad rockers who inspired their name, as Yarra council moves to restrict personal training in most parks and impose hefty fees.
    The group of up to 12 mothers meet five times a week at Quarries Park and train with their young children in strollers and prams.
    Fiona Lee said the hour-long classes got women back into shape after pregnancy, provided a valuable social outlet and, in some cases, helped to overcome postnatal depression.
    "It's a great source of social interaction and keeps us fit and active, while still spending time with our kids," Ms Lee said.
    City of Yarra and several other municipalities are following the lead of five bayside councils, which recently moved to clamp down on boot camps that operate on beaches and foreshore parks.
    But Yarra has gone a step further and proposed a ban on commercial exercise groups of more than six people from 18 public parks in Fitzroy, Clifton Hill and Richmond. Fitness classes will also be prohibited from exercising within 10 metres of playgrounds or 15 metres of picnic sheds and park benches.
    The Bay City Strollers pay $12.50 each a session to a personal trainer. But under the proposed changes, the trainer will be required to pay up to $1000 for a six-month permit to run one class a week.
    Ms Lee said: "We don't have a problem with the permits, it's just the cost and what seems to be blatant revenue-raising by the council."
    Yarra councillor Steve Jolly labelled the proposal a "greedy grab for cash", which he will oppose at a council vote next month. "These types of activities should be encouraged rather than taxed, it's pure opportunism."
    Personal trainer Andrew Talati, who runs classes in North Fitzroy's Edinburgh Gardens, said the $1000 permits would destroy his business, Fitstyler.
    "There seems to be a huge inconsistency between local, state and federal governments in how to tackle the obesity epidemic," Mr Talati said.
    "Here we have a council actually complaining that its public parks have become too popular with people wanting to exercise."
    He said that most of his clients lived in the municipality and already paid rates that covered the upkeep of parks and gardens.
    Kathryn Field trains twice a week at Edinburgh Gardens and said the classes had a "negligible impact" on the park, which was far outweighed by the community health benefits.
    "It's fantastic that people are being encouraged to exercise. I work as a cancer specialist so I'm well aware of the adverse health effects of obesity and a lack of exercise," Dr Field said.
    Mayor Judy Morton defended the plan and said personal trainers profited from public spaces and had an obligation to contribute to their upkeep. "People who operate a business expect to pay rent in their business premises, so it is reasonable to pay a fee to conduct a business in a local park," Cr Morton said.
    Liberty Victoria president Julian Burnside, QC, recently slammed the bid to charge personal trainers.
    "It's ridiculous that councils think they can gouge some members of the public to use this land," Mr Burnside said.

  2. Despite the councils paying for upkeep, who actually owns these parks? Local, State, Federal/DSE?
  3. The public owns them, that's why they're public parks, and that's why rates are paid. This is pure opportunism. Are they going to start charging children a fee for using the park equipment next?
  4. Taking the emotion out of this.
    Its a commercial operation taking place in a public area.
    Why should someones rates go towards maintaining an area where someone else is making money from?
    Remove the "payment for a personal trainer" and all is good.
  5. Agree, like Beach Volleyball, Learn to Surf - they all pay a hire fee to use the "public beach"
  6. I agree with the fee, not the amount of it.

    Assuming the PT has a full class of 12. At $12.5 per person, he can make $150 for his ONE allowed session. Assuming he has a fully booked schedule, the most he can make is $3900 for the 26 weeks. If he is a proper business, he has to pay taxes and other business costs (insurance, work cover etc..). So the business now makes less than a couple of grand for 26 weeks work.
  7. The parks are owned by the Council who have the right to charge for commercial use. I would have thought a small charge per annum for a permit for was fair. $1000 is ludicrous and a sign that someone in the Council offices is stupid or greedy (or both).

    There needs to be some means of booking parks and regulating the amount of use - you don't want half a dozen groups all trying to use the same piece of park at the same time. :LOL:
  8. Greedy pricks.

    They're not saying 'the parks are too small and can't handle groups', they're saying 'we're running out of ways to make money'.

    Local residents pay council rates, rates maintain parks.

    Trainers charge for their time, not the location. Trainers already pay tax on their income. Now we'll see trainers upping their fees (and having to cover the amount the govt will tax them for receiving extra fees) so that this 1000+ is passed to the end consumer who is trying to get fit and is already paying to maintain the park.

    This shits me even further as I've become a dad 3 months ago and my wife would use a group session for new mums if there was one running locally... and now the council wants to gouge us some more.
  9. I see these personal trainers every morning as I unlock the Botanical Gardens and toilets along the foreshore.

    There is one trainer to about 10 MILFS .

    They generally train when others are not around, either getting to work or already at work.

    I think the policy is stupid and outrageous.
    They are double dipping, its a grab for cash and the idea should be shot down in flames
  10. ROFLROFLROFL,,,,,,good one vic.

    But I agree, they are "using" our public parks instead of finding their own commercial premises to avoid paying rents and whatever.
    They SHOULD be charged to make money out of our parks.

    If the MILF's want to exercise they are quite welcome to, and exercise as much and whenever they want on their own and in their groups with partners whatever. But as soon as a commercial enterprise tries to take advantage of not having to pay for cleaners, jumping up and down on our seats with complete disregard at the amount of dog poo on their shoes and we have to sit in it, not putting their musashi protein bar wrappers in the provided bins, causing obstruction to the normal walkers and runners partaking in their own exercise regime every morning, then I think it really is time to clamp down.
    A lot of these personal trainers do not have their own premises, they are taking advantage of the free rent!
  11. I live just outside the border of Yarra (thank Dog!) The amount of gouging for cash this council does is breathtaking. They have just come out a prolonged period of being deeply in the red, due to long term financial mismanagement. Their solution has been to slap huge fines and fees on every aspect of human existence, rather than solve their structural problems, and the end result is a culture where they seem to believe that the public exists to serve their needs rather than the other way 'round.

    No doubt they are not the only local authority to act this way. The one good thing Kennett did was to sack and amalgamate the councils. Maybe it's time to do it again.

    In the end, any charge is going to be passed on to the locals who participate in these activities. They're already paying hefty rates for the privilege.