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City of Sydney to adopt new Outdoor Fitness Training policy

City of Sydney to adopt new Outdoor Fitness Training policy
April 19, 2016

Personal trainers who use the City of Sydney’s public open spaces are set to be asked to sign a Voluntary Code of Conduct.

Under the policy, which was passed at meeting of the city council last week, personal trainers are now required to avoid “excessive shouting”; abide by a maximum number of 18 in group training classes and are banned from using "signage, drag sleds, tyres and other equipment likely to damage surfaces or assets”.

While the City will not require personal trainers to pay licensing fees when using its parks, it will require trainers and to sign its Outdoor Fitness Training Voluntary Code of Conduct to be given council accreditation, which allows them to use public spaces.

Signing the Code of Conduct will require personal trainers hold a $10 million public liability policy and $5 million professional indemnity insurance.

In considering the adoption of the policy, which was developed with input from Fitness Australia, a report to the City's Environment Committee stated "the unregulated use and accumulative impact of large numbers of fitness training groups has the potential to damage park assets and can generate conflict with other park use and the amenity of neighbouring residents."

It added that the policy had been "developed to guide the sustainable, responsible and equitable use of outdoor fitness training for the continuing benefit of the entire community including, training groups, residents, workers and park visitors."

In an original draft of the policy, trainers would not have been permitted to bring load-bearing equipment such as weights, bars and benches into public spaces. However, after consultation the City changed its approach.

Now the policy states "it is acknowledged that the use of hand-held weights positively contributes to the health, wellbeing and fitness goals of training participants of all ages and abilities.

"The draft Code has been modified to clarify the types of permissible training equipment to be brought into the City’s parks and open spaces. Handheld weights (including dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, sandbags, medicine balls and similar) are permitted providing they are not left unattended or of a scale likely to damage park surfaces or assets.

"However, the use of signage, drag sleds, tyres and other equipment likely to damage surfaces or assets is not permitted.

"Suspension straps, harnesses or ropes are permitted only where attached to training equipment installed by Council."

With group size, the policy includes a recommendation that personal trainers "should employ a risk based approach and tailor group size to reflect the characteristics of the site, the training activities (their diversity and complexity), and the ability and experience of training participants."

The policy also states that "sound amplification or megaphones are not permitted. Excessive shouting, blowing of whistles or other noisy activities should be avoided."

The policy also points out that trainers should refrain from having classes before 6am or after 10pm, and not within 50 metres of residential properties between 7.30pm and 7.30am.

Trainers will be banned from using trees, garden beds, water features, water courses and wetlands, or structures including picnic or BBQ facilities for training.

The policy also explains “the City has installed fitness training equipment for the benefit of all park visitors. Personal trainers and training groups are welcome to use such equipment providing that their usage does not exclude or appear to exclude its use by others at any time.”

Going back several years, the introduction of permit and license systems by councils for fitness training in parks was a controversial topic. However, Fitness Australia’s implementation of outdoor training policies has subsequently led most local authorities to adopt a ‘common sense’ approach to the issue, with insurance for fitness operations seen as an essential part of operations, and operators not being subject to excessive charges.

In 2014, Fitness Australia launched a web based platform, Exercise Safe, to assist both fitness professionals and local governments in gaining a better understanding of permit systems for outdoor fitness and training.

For more information on Fitness Australia’s initiatives go to www.fitness.org.au

Click here to view the City of Sydney’s Environment Committee document.

Images used for illustrative purposes only.

30th March 2016 - A_SPACE INNOVATES WITH OUTDOOR GYM INSTALLATIONS

17th January 2016 - CITY OF SUBIACO UNDER FIRE FOR INTRODUCING FITNESS PERMIT SYSTEM IN ITS PARKS

29th November 2015 - PERTH KINGS PARK INTRODUCES FEES FOR GROUP FITNESS CLASSES

12th November 2014 - FITNESS AUSTRALIA APP TO IMPROVE ISSUES OF PERMIT SYSTEMS FOR OUTDOOR TRAINING

27th August 2014 - FITNESS AUSTRALIA AND PARKS AND LEISURE AUSTRALIA JOIN TO ADVANCE TRAINING IN PARKS GUIDELINES

16th May 2013 - FITNESS AUSTRALIA BACKS OBJECTIONS TO WOLLONGONG CITY COUNCIL’S ‘SWEAT TAXES’

8th March 2012 - URBAN DESIGN CAN BOOST ACTIVITY AND HEALTH

30th April 2010 - FITNESS AUSTRALIA TAKES LEAD ON COUNCIL ‘SWEAT TAXES’


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