Local law matters: Commercial use of parks


Commercial recreation activity is any activity conducted wholly or partially for the purpose of sport, entertainment, education, tourism or recreation which is carried out on a commercial basis on public or local government owned land. There has been a significant growth in personal fitness training which is pushing the need for strengthened management of commercial use of parks.

Desired outcomes

These outcomes can be considered as local government policy, guidelines or local law.  The aim of the regulation should be to:

  • promote active and healthy communities
  • ensure equity of access to public open space, for example manage any conflicts with displaced users, manage demand of use, and reduce dominated use of an area by a commercial operator
  • reduce the impact of commercial fitness activities on asset condition and maintenance
  • ensure operators are appropriately covered by public liability and professional indemnity insurance
  • ensure the orderly and proper conduct of activities in a council open space
  • ensure low cost activities are held
  • consider designating exclusions zones, for example in areas with existing high levels of activity or areas of cultural, environmental or natural significance
  • consider nominating permissible activities and limiting the size of groups allowed
  • implement a permit system with eligibility criteria, such as a being run by a registered professional who has public liability insurance and first aid training.

Other sources of information

Case Studies