Biggest Loser park fees
CLARENCE Valley Council will charge a fitness organisation to use one of its parks even though it pays the same organisation as part of its sponsorship of the Biggest Loser weight loss competition.
Last week the organisation, Functional Habits, which runs fitness programs including early morning boot camps in Grafton’s Memorial Park, learned council would begin charging to use the park.
One of Functional Habits’ three owners, Shaun Davidson, said that when council learned it was a money-making group, it contacted him and told him that the group would be charged the normal fee to use the park.
However, this fee was only $100 a quarter and would have no impact on the fees he and his partners, Craig Nipperess and Josh Nagle, would charge their customers.
Mr Davidson said council pays the fees of Biggest Loser contestants for three classes a week as part of its sponsorship of the Grafton Midday Rotary-run competition.
Council’s environment and open spaces manager Peter Birch said the fee was the normal commercial fee charged for a company regularly using a council park.
He said council did not have a problem charging the company this fee while paying it sponsorship money at the same time.
“The council is all about promoting a healthy lifestyle. That’s why we sponsor the Biggest Loser competition,” he said.
“But we have to draw the line somewhere when it comes to groups running money-making ventures in our parks.”
Mr Birch said collecting the fee enabled the council to keep tabs on organisations that used council parks.
“We would not like to see the parks overloaded with groups using them for their businesses. That’s not what they’re designed for.”
Mr Birch said council had received some critical comments from the public about fitness classes being held too close to the war memorials in the park.
“There’s been no official complaints, but it might be the fitness groups might have to train closer to the river areas,” he said.
Mr Davidson said there was only one time he had a complaint when class members placed water bottles on the Vietnam War Memorial.
“Since then we have made sure to keep well away from any memorials. We keep to the area close to the toilet blocks about 30m away from the closest memorial,” he said.
“Memorial Park is a great venue for our classes. It has great attributes, like the steps going down to the river, its open spaces and the fact that it’s in the middle of town.”
Mr Davidson said Functional Habits was largely a service that he and his partners provided to the public because of their passion for keeping fit.
“All of us have jobs during the day and we do this because of our love of personal fitness,” he said.
“The rewards we get out of it are seeing how getting people fit can improve their life.
“That’s a great side effect of being healthy.”