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Group fitness at a cost in Cott
Right move: Personal trainer Bae Hooper with dog Happy. Picture: Steve Ferrier/The West Australian

Cottesloe is set to become the latest council to introduce a paid permit system for personal trainers and group fitness instructors who use public parks and reserves.

Under a draft plan, released for public comment, trainers who conduct outdoor sessions for five or more people in the Town of Cottesloe will have to buy a $20 permit every 10 weeks.

In a report for council, corporate and community services manager Mat Humfrey said the council was not seeking to stop any activity and most trainers were aware of their responsibilities.

But he said there was a small group of operators who were not as concerned about the impact they had on nearby residents.

"They typically conduct classes early in the morning and/or may have ignored requests from residents to 'keep it down' or move further away from their houses," he wrote.

The annual fee of more than $100 is much smaller than those imposed by Joondalup and Stirling councils, amid a boom in outdoor exercise classes throughout the metropolitan area.

The City of Stirling, which covers the coastal suburbs of Scarborough, Trigg and North Beach, charges between $550 and $2200 a year for fitness instructors to use public reserves.

City of Stirling leisure services manager Michael Quirk said the personal training industry was growing at "exponential rates", placing increased demands on the available space.

"The city considers it to be fair and reasonable to seek application from and charge personal trainers who are utilising public assets for commercial gain to ensure the effective, sustainable management and usage of public open spaces," he said.

Cottesloe Fitness personal trainer Bae Hooper, who has run classes in Cottesloe for eight years, welcomed the permit plan and said noise from certain groups was a problem for some residents.

"We run past North Cott at 6am and it's like running past a nightclub, so I'm very much of the mind that we don't need to have that," she said.

Justine Guest, from Babes on the Run, said the rules varied greatly.

"It's free and well organised at Kings Park, but across the rest of the State we fight local councils and it's horrible," she said. "It's fine to bring in a fee but it has to make sense. Many of them do it because they don't want us making money out of their space, but we work on very low wages and have a lot of overheads."

Fremantle council charges $2.30/hour fee to personal fitness instructors using public spaces.

The Department of Sport and Recreation is hosting a workshop with Fitness Australia and local councils tomorrow to discuss permits, fees and public liability concerns.