Licences for using parks and beaches

Personal trainers/bootcamps Surf schools Water recreation

Council's Commercial Recreation Activities on Public Open Space Policy(PDF, 232KB) applies to all public open space under Council management including:

  • Crown Reserves under the trusteeship or control of Council
  • Council-owned community and operational land
  • Council roads.

The policy aims to identify commercial recreation activities suitable for beaches, parks and other public places administered by Council.

  1. Ensure equitable and sustainable use of beaches, parks and other public places for the physical, social and cultural wellbeing of the Tweed community.
  2. Ensure all activities on public open space are in keeping with the intended use of the space.
  3. Protect the natural and physical assets of public open space in the Tweed.
  4. Protect existing and proposed infrastructure on public open space.
  5. Protect the safety of all users of public open space.

Council may grant a licence for:

  • Organised fitness activities - personal trainers, sporting coaches, water-based activities on adjoining water bodies, cycling, and associated equipment hire
  • Outdoor tourist activities - eco-tours, fishing competitions
  • Other commercial recreation activities - established activities, such as a circus or music festival, which have identifiable community benefits and which require the use of an extensive area

Under the policy, certain uses such as small-scale activities, passive recreation, tour groups stopping for lunch and training for not-for-profit organisations are not be required to obtain a licence.

The policy does not address commercial activities such as mobile food vending, footpath dining, kiosks or similar on public open space.

For more information contact Council's Open Space Officer on 02 6670 2400 or email

Licensing for personal trainers, bootcamps and team building

Fitness group stretching outdoors in a park

A licensing system is in place for personal trainers, bootcamps and team building activity providers who use public land, including parks, beaches, reserves and sport fields managed by Council.

Licences apply to commercial exercise or team building activities. Not for profit groups, sporting clubs and the like are not required to obtain a licence.

  • Commercial group training, exercise and team building organisers with more than 5 in a group are required to hold a licence.
  • Commercial group training, exercise and team building operators with 5 or less people in a group are not required to obtain a licence. They must however abide by the same operating guidelines as described below.

To apply for a licence complete and submit the Commercial Recreation Activities on Public Open Space Licence Application(PDF, 173KB)

The licence is per trainer not per business. Although a business can apply for several licences, additional trainers require an additional licence and associated fee as "The licensee must only train one group at a time. Multiple groups may not operate under the same licence". This means that a licence does not allow a licensee with staff multiple classes at the same time for the one licence.

If a class has an instructor, that instructor requires a licence. If there is a trainer assisting the instructor then the assistant trainer is a part of the class numbers. If there are multiple instructors each with individual groups than a licence is required per instructor for each group.

This is so that the usage of Public Open Space is used in accordance with the reserve purpose and is considered to be of minimal impact and to avoid disparity between individual personal trainers and larger commercial groups while not overwhelming the use of Public Open Space for the general public.

Licences will be issued on either an annual or weekly basis with the fees reflecting the frequency of the activity. Check fees and payments for the costs involved.

Annual fee

  • High frequency (over 3 days per week or 10 hours per week).
  • Low frequency (3 or less days per week or under 10 hours per week).

Weekly (short-term)

  • For activities occurring for 1 week or less.

Licences for personal trainers and similar activities will not specify locations to operate.

Operating guidelines

Guidelines for personal trainers, bootcamps and team building activities(PDF, 38KB) are provided to ensure activities have minimal impact on the environment, neighbours and other park users.

Activities must not occur:

  • within 50 metres of residential housing or tourist and visitor accommodation unless exceptional circumstances apply
  • within 10 metres of playgrounds or park equipment such as shelter sheds
  • within 100 metres of flagged areas on a beach
  • in ecologically sensitive locations such as natural coastal areas and sand dunes.

Surf schools

As a commercial activity, Surf School operators require a licence for areas zoned RE1 Public Recreation(PDF, 2MB). All other beach and surrounding areas that are not zoned RE1 will require a Development Application to be lodged with Council's Development Assessment Unit.

Applications for a surf school licence is required by 1 July each year as the licence season commences on 1 September of each year. There are 2 licence options available being either a 12 month (annual) licence or an 8 month (summer) licence.

There is a weekly fee to operate a surf school which requires advanced monthly payments. Refer to Council's fees and payments

Requirements to operate a surf school must hold current and maintain:

  • Public Liability Insurance policy for a minimum of $20,000,000
  • One of either:
    • Surf Rescue Certificate (SLSA Community Award)
    • Bronze Medallion (SLSA proficient annually)
    • Ocean Rescue Award (RLSS proficient annually)
  • Senior First Aid Certificate
  • Advanced Resuscitation Certificate
  • One of either:
    • Level 1 Surfriding Coaching Accreditation (Australian Coaching Council)
    • Vocational Education and Training Employment Commission Adventure Training Instruction Course (ATIC) including Adventure Training - 5 Surfing Techniques (ATST).

Note: If the insurance or a qualification expires during a licenced period then a copy of the renewed certificate/s will be required to ensure the licence remains valid.

To apply for a licence, complete the Surf Schools on Tweed Shire Beaches application form(PDF, 107KB).

The application lists all the operational requirements which will be assessed. Be sure to attach a copy of certificate of currency for public liability and all requested qualifications. Applications will not be assessed unless these are provided.

For more information contact Council's Open Space Officer on 02 6670 2400.

Non motorised water recreation businesses policy

See Non Motorised Water Recreation Businesses(PDF, 246KB)

The policy explains when a non motorised water recreation business needs development consent from Council.

For more information contact Council's Development Assessment Unit on 02 6670 2400.