THEY have been the subject of several debates on business development in the CBD as demand for parking grows.
But Orange City Council has taken a dim view of a fledgling gym paying $24,320 in parking contributions in Byng Street and waived the charge.
The matter was put to the council at its recent meeting where owner Sam McPaul said it would affect her ability to open the business in January.
To be named Empire Strength Co, the business will offer high-intensity training with more reliance on exercises using body weight and small equipment, rather than machines.
"The price of commercial property is substantially higher than any surrounding towns, therefore finding something within my business budget was my first challenge," Mrs McPaul said.
"The proposed site was the only one available that ticked all the boxes."
She said classes would occur outside the hours of 9am and 4pm when parking demand in the area was highest and personal training sessions during business hours would be limited to single clients.
Consultant for the development Andrew Saunders said parking contributions were intended to create a user-pays system, but proposed parking at the cleared CF Williams site was too far away.
Surrounding tenancies had raised parking concerns - council staff argued relying on neighbouring tenancies' spaces was not reasonable because their demand might change over time and the neighbouring Tradelink car park could not be used because it was private.
However, councillors agreed with the owner, removing the charge.
Councillor Kevin Duffy said the business hours were important.
"It's outside the mainstream businesses, which is prior to 9am and after 4pm," he said.
Councillor Joanne McRae also supported it, but pointed out no parking contributions had been paid in 18 months and the area was "chockers" during the day, particularly when there was a funeral.
"Council is therefore taking the responsibility or the risk for inadequate parking," she said.
"We should be alert to the fact that if we continue to be generous, we need to make sure we're ready to wear the flack."
After the meeting, Mrs McPaul said she was relieved with the decision.
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