Outdoor fitness sessions were approved by the City of Trail at May 25 Governance and Operations Committee meeting. Photo: Aaron Hemens

Outdoor fitness sessions were approved by the City of Trail at May 25 Governance and Operations Committee meeting. Photo: Aaron Hemens

City of Trail to allow outdoor fitness classes

The City of Trail worked out a permitting solution for outdoor fitness classes

The City of Trail’s Parks and Rec Department has acted swiftly in reaching a compromise for local fitness groups.

Within a couple weeks of shutting down outdoor workouts at city parks due to COVID restrictions, rec director Trisha Davison came up with a plan to accommodate group fitness activities.

At the May 25 governance meeting, council decided that as long as restrictions continue to shut down indoor group workouts, local fitness groups can now access city parks and hold outdoor workouts through a permitting process.

Based on consultation with Davison’s departmental colleagues and comparing other municipalities fee structures, a permit process was hammered out where fitness businesses will be charged $65 per month to run workouts and $315 for the whole year.

“We are really glad the city took this seriously, not just for us but for all small businesses,” said Elevate Fitness and Therapy owner Andrew van der Ham. “We think the rates are fair, and something we will be able to do no problem.”

In the resolution, the city also offered the fitness companies a further break, establishing a 50 per cent discount of the new permit fee for commercial group fitness activities until the Public Health Office lifts the restrictions on indoor group fitness.

“We felt this is totally reasonable and are thankful to have had this discussion with city and the work they put in to figuring something out,” said van der Ham.

Private fitness businesses like Elevate were trying to keep their membership engaged by offering various group fitness classes with a maximum of 10 participants at city parks. However, the COVID-19 Safety Plan for outdoor spaces in Trail identifies that Gyro Park in particular could not be used for third party organized activities, and so private fitness groups were asked to cease their programs.

For organized use of public spaces, Trail’s respective bylaw charges $254 per day, but did not consider hour-long group fitness scenarios.

When restrictions are lifted the new resolution allows for local commercial/private fitness operators to use designated parks for small group workouts at the revised rates, which will be included in the fees and charges bylaw.

“I know restrictions may be coming off June 15 for indoor, we will wait and see, but this is great because it actually opens up the possibility of us doing official “Outdoor” fitness classes for our members.

“It also gives us the option for any hockey/athletic programs we run to do outdoor sessions with the athletes, which we will definitely be taking advantage of.”

The province’s plan currently allows for indoor low-intensity group exercise with limited capacity.

As early as June 15, high-intensity group exercises may be allowed, also with reduced capacity.

“Glad we were able to sort things out with the City and thank them for the work they put in,” added van der Ham. “We are excited for the new options to bring to our clients.”

Come July 1, all indoor fitness classes are able to resume with usual capacity, however, dates are subject to change depending on case counts and percentage of people in the province who have been vaccinated.

City of TrailRecreation