A Waipū boxing and fitness gym is looking for a new venue after noise complaints from neighbours led to the shutdown of its facilities last week.
Terry Gallard and Kelly Jacobson, owners of Dembones Fitness and Boxing, were suddenly forced to move out of their rented property on June 1 after Whangārei District Council (WDC) informed their landlord that the gym required a resource consent.
Gallard said that, while this came as a surprise, the pair would continue operating three days a week at the Waipū Primary School hall, where they had been located before renting their property.
"We are currently looking for a suitable long-term location," Gallard said.
A council spokesperson said the property was in a zone called Districts Rural Village Residential Living Environment.
"Any commercial activity, excluding home occupations, is a non-complying activity within the Rural Village Residential Sub-Environment. As the property has no residential dwelling, the gym does not meet the criteria to be considered as a home occupation."
Gallard said they had not been aware they required a resource consent, and obtaining one wasn't feasible for the small community business.
Facebook followers expressed their support after Gallard and Jacobson updated their clients online:
"This sucks so bad. You guys have been changing things up and moving this around constantly to accommodate the neigh sayers. Hopefully, we can help you guys find something soon. I'll put my hand up to help fundraising or anything that I can do to help," Jessica-Ann Holes comments.
Tammy Lauren adds: "My daughter was so excited to attend the class just before lockdown. You were so welcoming. I know she was looking forward to classes resuming! And I intended to join too! This makes me so GRRRRR. Sorry to hear team."
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Gallard and Jacobson began their business in 2017, after Gallard's "good mate" Hamish 'Hamo' Dye died.
"It was his idea to start a gym here. Hamish thought it would benefit Waipū because not much else is happening here," Gallard said.
Gallard had known Dye since childhood and received support from his friend through "my troubled youth".
"Hamish was a real people's person. He would give his shirt off his back."
As Gallard was about to launch his boxing and fitness business, he contacted Dye's family asking if he could use the nickname Dye was widely known by: 'Dembones'.
They gave their blessing and were instrumental in designing the gym's new logo.
Since its opening, Gallard and Jacobson have not only run various gym classes for locals but also launched a youth programme in Waipū and Ruakākā promoting self-discipline, self-respect and self-confidence through kickboxing.
Given his issues growing up, Gallard said he could relate to troubled youth and walk through various steps of their journey with them.
"We're teaching them to understand the art of kickboxing and how to respect it – not to go out on the street and use it against others," Gallard said.
"Because they train together with all their mates, they know each other's limits and keep each other in check. They don't need to prove themselves in front of their mates."
He also takes the kids out into the community to give back by doing tasks such as cleaning up the beach or gardening for elderly.
Gallard said finding a long-term location for the programme was important so the youth would have a place where they felt comfortable.
Gallard and Jacobson are also applying for public funding as most revenue coming from the gym classes goes towards the programme.
For more information about Dembones Fitness and Boxing, visit facebook.com/Demboneswaipu/ or contact Terry Gallard on 0226498672.