Hopping mad over cape fee increase
NEW conditions to be imposed on fitness trainers using the Cape Byron headland are too restrictive and are designed to drive businesses away, a local operator says.
Cape Byron Trust has recently asked all professional fitness trainers to apply for a licence to operate on the reserve.
Businesses have always paid fees and needed a permit to use the area, but new rules will include an increase in fees, restrictions on class sizes and a ban on ‘aggressive activities’ such as shouting, loud voice calls orinstructions.
Dan Clifton-Northey, of Byron Bay Bootcamp, said the licence conditions were ‘outrageous’.
“Come January I’m wiping my hands of it and taking my business elsewhere,” he said.
Mr Clifton-Northey has run exercise classes at the cape for four years. It’s been the main location for his business as commercial activities are banned at most other beaches in the shire.
He said he was happy to pay fees to use the area, but not the huge increases being asked for under the new system.
“Up until now I’ve paid $2.25 per person per class. Under the newlicence, this goes up to $4.60 per person,” he said.
“We’re being asked to pay a third of our wages on fees.”
The new licence will also limit his class sizes to 10, one-third of the size of his regular classes.
The extra costs would force him to move his classes to areas such as school ovals, he said.
“There’s nowhere left for fitness trainers to go in Byron Bay,” he said. “It’s such a shame because we have one of the most beautiful places in Australia and we can’t use it,” he said.
National Parks and Wildlife Service spokesperson Lawrence Orel said the new regulations were designed to protect the amenity of the cape.
The reserve had become anincreasingly popular location for fitness trainers in recent years and there needed to be a balance between commercial operations and the general public’s right to enjoy the area, he said.