Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

Wollongong outdoor fitness operators unhappy at City Council ‘sweat taxes’

Wollongong outdoor fitness operators unhappy at City Council ‘sweat taxes’
May 21, 2013

Fitness businesses conducting outdoor classes in the Illawarra are continuing to object to plans by Wollongong City Council to increase annual fees for the use of parks, reserves and beaches by up to 50%.

The Council's Draft Annual Plan 'Draft Revenue Policy, Fees & Charges 2013-2014' proposes to increase the annual fees for fitness services using parks and beaches by more than $1,600 for some of the larger fitness organisations, which will have to pay up to $5,000 to train large groups in the Council's open spaces.

Fearing that the Council's proposed rises would cripple many small fitness operators, Summit Fitness Studio’s Simone Campbell has presented the Council with a petition of 500 signatures opposing the fee increases was presented.

Having presented the petition, Campbell told the Illawarra Mercury "Council is proposing an increase of up to 50% on top of what are already considered extreme rates by national standards."

Campbell highlighted that her classes targeted lower-income families who could not afford expensive gyms, and higher fees would put services out of reach of many people and organisations, adding "the Illawarra is out of alignment with the rest of Australia.

"I don't oppose paying a fee for the use of public spaces ... I am just asking the council to reconsider ... in the interest of health and wellbeing."

Campbell compared her business with an operator of a similar sized business in Rushcutters Bay which would pay $275 for a two-year lease, pointing out "you are asking me to pay $1,613 annually (when) I already pay $1240 annually."

The Illawarra Mercury has also reported the objections of other fitness businesses to the planned fee rises.

Savvy Fitness Direcor Angela Saville told the newspaper "we have never had an issue with paying the fees but are astounded that Council can propose a 48% increase in these fees when across all other council fees and charges there is a maximum of 5%.

"We make every effort to adhere to public space issues and consider it a crucial part of our operations. We are just interested to know how the additional revenue is used."

Saville said commercial fitness operators were working together to comply with regulations "so as not to disturb the public and ensure that our activities cause minimal disruption to the general public", adding "most services on average operate in the parks at a maximum of three hours a day, generally early morning and evening.

"These businesses have overheads like any other business, leasing separate office and work spaces, vehicles, equipment, paying quality professional trainers, staff and all other common expenses. Considering other councils don't charge fees there are some questions to be answered.

"We are interested to know how the Council came up with a 'market price'."

The Illawarra Mercury also used Kickstart Fitness to show how the fees would impact on fitness businesses, referring to owner Peter Gollop who runs exercise groups for up to 18 people at Lang Park on the Wollongong shore.

Under the Council's draft plan, his fees will rise almost 40% to $2,500 a year - an increase Gollop said could be crippling for fitness providers.

He explained "I'm not a large business, I'm just a sole trader so that's a big chunk of cash straight out of my wallet."

Gollop said he was happy to pay a fee to use public grounds for his business, but did not understand how costs were calculated or why they needed to rise, adding "there is no justification for what they're charging because it's not like they have to clean the parks or do extra lawn mowing because we're there."

Council Manager Commercial Projects and Property Peter Coyte claimed that the planned increases would bring fitness trainer fees into line with market pricing, telling the Illawarra Mercury "the costs associated with independent fitness trainers using grounds and equipment provided by the council for the general public is proposed to be set at market pricing."

The Council, which has traditionally offered free use of several of it swimming pools, subsidised its pools at a cost of $3.5 million in the last financial year.

Consultants are currently conducting a review of these services but have been told not to consider introducing fees for these services. 

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


Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

Mattioli

Mattioli provides award winning painting, flooring and waterproofing services to the aquatics and recreation sector. We’re recognised as the leading contractor in the industry with award-winning…

read more

Aquatics / Recreation / Safety

 
 

Polin Waterparks

Polin was founded in Istanbul in 1976, and has since grown into a leading company in the waterparks industry. Today Polin is one of the world leaders in the design, production, and installation of…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Waterparks

 
 

EventPro

At EventPro Software, we are proudly different from our industry competitors. We have a development-driven culture and 20 years’ experience in event, venue, and catering management software,…

read more

Events / Hospitality / Technology / Ticketing / Venues

 
 

IP HUB

Talk To Us For Independent Advice & Specialised Services We're business people, not sales reps IP HUB is one of Australia’s leading advisors on telecoms for both small businesses and…

read more

Marketing / Technology

 
 

AAC ID SOLUTIONS

AAC ID Solutions is a leading supplier of identification access wristbands, barcoded wristband tickets, lanyards, membership products and RFID solutions for events and venues, working with thousands…

read more

Access / Marketing / Safety / Ticketing

 
 

Aquaspin

AQUASPIN™ - Aqua Cycling Aquaspin™’s sessions have been specially designed by our Master Trainer to be challenging yet fun group cycling sessions. Each session is tailored to…

read more

Aquatics / Fitness / Recreation / Wellness

 
 

Jonas Leisure

JonasLeisure offers a complete range of leading leisure and recreation software brands – envibe, Centaman, Gladstone Health & Leisure, The Retention People, Nutrition Complete and…

read more

Aquatics / Billing / Fitness / Recreation / Sport

 
 

Perfect Gym

Perfect Gym Solutions is a software as a service (SaaS) solution purpose-built to service the fitness industry, with over 1000 clients servicing over 2 million gym members across 40 countries making…

read more

Access / Fitness / Marketing / Recreation / Technology

 
 
 
 

get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business