Author: Lee Kenny

A Christchurch gym has been criticised for allowing a food truck to park across two of its mobility parking spaces.

Advocacy group CCS Disability Action believes F45 Training Papanui has "moral responsibility" to keep the spaces free but it appears the decision to allow Soul Full Superfood to use the parks is lawful because the land on Northfield Business Park is private property.

The gym says it does not have disabled clients because the high-intensity training regimes and equipment used are "not suitable" for wheelchair users.

The food truck has since been moved to two standard spaces on the Langdons Rd site, but the Christchurch City Council is now investigating whether the resource consent was breached.

Private car park owners are responsible for monitoring the proper use of mobility spaces, but local authorities have no power to force businesses to act responsibly.

CCS Disability Action regional facilities manager BJ Clark said the situation was symptomatic of a wider problem. Companies were not required to enforce mobility parking once applications were approved and not checked as part of the building warrant of fitness assessments, he said.

Soul Full Superfood's food truck outside F45 Training Papanui in Christchurch.

"There is a moral responsibility [to keep the spaces free] and the fact is they are for people who need a mobility park. 

"It's just frustrating for us and it's not a good look for the businesses. Why don't they use standard parks?"

Resource consent for the building was granted to Chas S Luney Ltd in January 2015, with the applicant saying they would include two disability spaces.

An F45 Training Papanui spokesman said the matter had been resolved and he was not able to comment. Manager Vicki Logopati-Campbell declined to comment. 

In a Facebook post, F45 Training Papanui said there were now two parks available for disabled use.

"We welcome all people into our studio, however, with the type of Hiit (high-intensity impact training) training and equipment being used in our classes this is not suitable for wheelchairs." 

The message said F45 was happy to send links and refer "friends who specifically have wheelchair access on their gym floor".

F45, which started in Australia in 2011, has four branches in Christchurch and 19 across New Zealand, offering 45-minute exercise classes. 

A Facebook group called F45 Adaptive features pictures and videos of disabled people using the gym chain.

Soul Full Superfood declined to comment.

Owner Katie Robinson posted on Facebook before the truck was moved she was being harassed publicly and privately.

"If you have a problem you should take it up with the owner of the car parks instead of bullying me and trying to undermine my small business with your assumptions and hate," she said in one post.

"If there were two gym members that happened to come to the same workout time slot and needed to use the extra space the gym could easily be made aware. They would probably have to disclose some information when they first signed up, and then something would be done about it." 

Tracey Weston, head of regulatory compliance at the city council, said a complaint was received this week about disability parking spaces outside F45 being blocked by a food truck.

"Regarding the general monitoring of conditions relating to disabled parking, compliance officers ensure the approved consent requirements are complied with at the development/build stage," she said. 

"After a development's completion and confirmation of compliance with all conditions of the resource consent, further monitoring or compliance visits would be as a result of complaints received. Any identified non-compliances would be addressed with the consent holder."

Note from Nighthawk.NZ:

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