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Cockburn parents are having to stand outside — often in the cold and wet — to catch a glimpse of their children taking taekwando classes because the facility will be hit with a fine by the local council if they don’t.
The bewildered parents have to peer in to the studio at the United Martial Arts and Fitness Academy from a side roller door and are asked not to step inside.
And it’s all because the academy owners fear the City of Cockburn will slap them with another fine for breaching their capacity.
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The business was fined $500 after a random audit on June 11 found it was in breach of the conditions of its planning approval that only permits a maximum of 44 people. There were more than 100 inside at the time.
The City of Cockburn claimed the academy had a history of breaching the conditions of its approval since 2016.
Following the initial inspection, the facility was inspected on June 19 and no breaches were identified at that time.
Nicole Moutinho, whose two daughters attend the facility, said the whole situation was “really inconvenient”.
“If any child has issues with anxiety and they can’t go into these classes without a parent nearby that might become a problem,” she said.
While Ms Moutinho said it may not be “so bad in the summer” given parents wouldn’t be so cold, another mother, Tanya Harris, said she wouldn’t be standing outside if it was more than 40C.
Louise Harvey said her six-year-old son took courses at the centre and she had wanted to enrol her three-year-old daughter but was deterred by the current issues.
She said it was tough for children if they didn’t have their parent in sight.
“I don’t see why they have to wait outside,” she said. “There’s plenty of room for everybody.”
Narelle Sestich said she had been forced to wait in the rain since the restrictions were brought in.
It’s understood that when the audit was undertaken, the academy was in between a class swap and it was raining. This meant there were more parents than usual dropping off and picking up their children.
The venue also has major congestion issues which often forces parents to park on verges outside the venue.
Parents have also been informed by staff at the academy that council had warned them that no vehicles could be parked within 10 metres of the nearby roundabout.
City of Cockburn planning and development services director Dan Arndt said the venue could only legally accommodate a maximum of 40 people, based on the building’s size, location, ventilation, number of emergency exits and toilets.
“Essentially there is a significant public safety risk if UMA breaches the maximum accommodation for the building, and a serious incident occurs, such as a fire, whereby UMA’s insurance is likely to be considered null and void,” Mr Arndt said.
“Public building approvals are designed to protect both the certificate holders and members of the public that attend activities at these premises, in the event of a serious incident. It is UMA’s responsibility to ensure it limits the number of people in its martial arts studio, in accordance with the maximum accommodation numbers.”
“The operator advised the City officer that they were putting measures in place to ensure that their patron numbers were compliant.”