THE proposal to establish a Zap Fitness centre in New Norfolk required council approval and was the subject of much discussion in the community. There was a perception that approval might prove difficult to obtain, but in the end no councillor spoke against it at tonight's council meeting. Councillors Evans, Shaw and Shoobridge were absent and Cr Lester stepped out after declaring an interest.
The following are my speech notes from tonight's meeting:
"Mr Acting Mayor, six months ago when we were discussing another development, I quoted from the planning scheme where it states the intent of preserving commercial activity in our central business district. That is what this application does.
"We have one of Tasmania’s leading businessmen wanting to expand his fitness centre operations to New Norfolk and while I do not think this is the best use for such a large shop, given the state of our economy I am pleased to see any business activity taking place there.
"This development is being proposed as a place of assembly and our planning scheme describes this as being for recreational, social, entertainment, cultural or religious purposes. The proposed fitness centre could well be described as meeting several of those criteria, not least 'recreational'.
"The problem area is parking but we are able to exercise some discretion. There is a Zap Fitness Centre near my workplace and I have seen its customers arrive on bicycles, skateboards, and on foot as well as by car. The use of these centres seems quite social and I have seen people sharing a car.
"The use of the proposed fitness centre will be spread throughout the day and I believe sufficient parking is available within a short walk in almost any direction. Charging the developer more than $10,000 in lieu of the missing parking spaces will not result in any extra parking spaces being created. I believe charging this fee could jeopardise the whole project. I believe we should waive the fee and approve this centre."