Licences for using parks and beaches

Personal trainers/bootcamps Surf schools Water recreation

Council's Commercial Recreation Activities on Public Open Space Policy(PDF, 209KB) 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 leaving from public land, cycling, etc.
  • Outdoor tourist activities - eco-tours, fishing competitions
  • Other commercial recreation 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 very small-scale activities, informal passive recreation or tour groups stopping for lunch are not 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

There are specific Guidelines for personal trainers, bootcamps and team building activities(PDF, 124KB) which 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.


Fitness group stretching outdoors in a park

To apply for a licence complete and submit the Commercial Recreation Activities on Public Open Space Licence Application(PDF, 173KB)All applications are assessed on their own merits against the policy.

A business with more than one trainer/instructor must apply for separate licences and cannot hold multiple classes using a single licence.

Coaching undertaken in association with a sporting club who has a seasonal licence for a sports field does not require a separate licence.

Licences will be issued on either an annual, 6 monthly 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. 

Surf schools

As a commercial activity, Surf School operators require a licence to operate on Tweed Shire beaches. Licences apply to areas zoned RE1 Public Recreation(PDF, 943KB) and Open Space 6(a) adjacent beaches. All other beaches and surrounding areas that are zoned otherwise will require a Development Application to be lodged with Council's Development Assessment Unit.

Applications for surf school licences are required by 1 July each year as the licence season commences on 1 September of each year. There are two 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 pages 88/89. Surf school operators will receive a monthly invoice from Tweed Shire Council.

Requirements to operate

A surf school must hold current and maintain:

  • Public Liability Insurance policy for a minimum of $20 million which is to include the following wording in the Counterparties / Interested Parties section:
    • Tweed Shire Council
    • Minister who administers the NSW Crown Land Management Act 2016.
  • Surf rescue qualifications obtained in Australia
  • Australian First Aid and CPR certificate/s
  • Surf coaching qualifications
  • Working with Children Check

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

To apply for a licence, complete and submit the Surf Schools on Tweed Shire Beaches application form(PDF, 1MB).

The application lists all the operational requirements which will be assessed and how to provide evidence of appropriate qualifications. Applications will not be assessed unless these are provided.

For more information contact Council's Parks and Active Communities Unit 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.