'Gym' at Cenotaph under fire

A personal training business has been using the Cenotaph in Memorial Park to work out on.
A personal training business has been using the Cenotaph in Memorial Park to work out on.

A Hamilton personal training business has come under fire for using the Cenotaph in Memorial Park as a virtual gym to conduct exercise classes.

Storey Sport has been observed by the Waikato Times using the Cenotaph - erected in honour of our fallen soldiers - to hold its boot camp style classes at lunchtime over the course of several months.

As recent as last Friday personal trainer Stacey Mellor was spotted standing on top of the Cenotaph while her charges used the steps of the memorial for resistance training and a place to rest gym bags, water bottles and yoga mats.

When approached by the Times, Ms Mellor said that while she was aware the structure was a Cenotaph, she did not believe it was disrespectful to use it as an outdoor gym.

''And we don't need the permission from the (Hamilton City) Council either,'' she said.

The Times has been contacted by members of the public both in support of the business' right to use the Cenotaph for exercise, and those against.
Former soldier Adrian Gould said there were plenty of other nearby steps and park benches that people could use.

''I think (using the cenotaph) shows a lack of respect for what the memorial stands for,'' he said.

Hamiltonian Greg Wells said it was ''disrespectful''.

''It is a memorial,  not a piece of exercise equipment,'' he said.

''It is true that those represented on the Cenotaph lost their lives so we may enjoy the freedoms that we do but I don't think that means treading on the very monument that represents.''

Others, however, were quick to point out that homeless people often occupy the park, and that was of greater concern.

Dale Kirk said he had seen ''much worse'' in the park and urged opponents to ''lighten up''.

The Hamilton branch of the RSA will discuss the issue at a meeting scheduled for tonight.

Comment is being sought from the Hamilton City Council.