Businesses face fees for using Christchurch City Council parks

Commercial boot camps in Christchurch parks may end up paying for the right to get hot and sweaty in public.
STACY SQUIRES/STUFF

Commercial boot camps in Christchurch parks may end up paying for the right to get hot and sweaty in public.

Personal trainers and other businesses operating in Christchurch parks may end up paying for the privilege. 

Christchurch City Council head of parks Andrew Rutledge confirmed it is looking into charging businesses for commercial use of public parks and gardens, and whether a new bylaw is needed. 

Personal trainers could be up for a fee if they want to reserve favourite spots for exercise sessions or boot camps.

Fabric artist Jenny Gillies also faces paying for use of the Botanic Gardens kiosk for her Enchanted Gardens exhibition, which charges an entry fee and has attracted more than 8000 visitors.

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Rutledge said fees would not apply, for example, to a coffee cart fundraising for a sports club, and would focus on bona fide commercial operations.

Fabric artist Jenny Gillies' flower costume exhibit in the Botanic Gardens may have to contribute to council coffers.
JOSEPH JOHNSON/STUFF

Fabric artist Jenny Gillies' flower costume exhibit in the Botanic Gardens may have to contribute to council coffers.

"We need a mechanism where we can say yes or no, approve conditions and put appropriate charges in place." 

Chief executive of industry body Exercise New Zealand Richard Beddie​ said personal trainers would not necessarily object to paying a council fee, but it would depend how much it was and what they got in return. 

He said because of the size of Hagley Park "you could have every personal trainer in the city there and still have room".

Space was more of a problem in Auckland where small inner city parks got congested with personal training groups and their noise woke nearby residents, Beddie said.

In Wellington, trainers had to pay a fee to book space in a particular park, which worked for larger boot camps of 50 or so people, he said.

"The last thing you want is to turn up and someone else has got your corner."

If fees and booking systems were introduced, Beddie wanted the council to set standards so personal trainers had to be properly qualified members of a professional body, had public indemnity insurance and were trained in first aid. 

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Rutledge said a formal arrangement over Gillies' use of the kiosk in the gardens, including rent, would be negotiated if the exhibition remained there. 

Gillies' initial six month tenure was extended until December and she recently appeared before a council committee seeking to make it permanent.

Until now, the council has provided free rent and power at the kiosk, and has not sought a contribution from the sale of Enchanted Garden tickets, which range in price from $5 to $15, with children under five free. 

Rutledge said charging rent would be in line with other commercial operations in the gardens, such as the Curators House restaurant.

Gillies said she would prefer to keep her arrangement with the council private and declined to comment further. 

Some fees already exist for use of council parks.

Mobile shops pay $90 a day to run in regional parks, and filming and commercial photography attract a sliding scale of fees from $50 to $1235 per day depending on their level of impact. 

 - Stuff

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