To build or upgrade Council park lighting, clubrooms or facilities, or to use a Council park or playing surface for a game, sport or activity outside of the annual sports field allocation, you may need to apply for a lease, licence or permit.

Apply to use a Council Park

If you want to:

  • Have exclusive use of a park, court or playing surface for many months or longer, and/or intend to charge people for its use.
  • Install new lights for a sports field, or upgrade existing lights.
  • Extend existing clubrooms or park facilities, or build new clubrooms or facilities.

Complete an application and we can work with you for a lease, licence or permit.


What you need to know

One of the first things we will need to consider is if your activity will comply with the use and management of the park.

Many commercial activities are not suitable or practical to operate in a park due to the way the public will use the park or the legal constraints of how the park is managed.

A licence or a lease means you legally have the exclusive right to use an area of the park for your activity at a particular time and day. This gives you the peace of mind knowing you will be able to advertise your activity and an area of the park will be available for you.

In return for this exclusive use, you will be charged a fee by the Council based on your activity.

Regulations and consultation

Council’s parks are maintained and managed on behalf of all the ratepayers of the city. We need to achieve the best result for the ratepayers when a lease or a licence is issued for a park.

The Local Government Act (LG Act) and the Reserves Act do not allow us to work unilaterally (exclusively) with the first person that approaches the Council to use a park on a regular basis.

The Acts requires us to make sure we do not exclude other people (whether they have a similar or a different activity to yours) from putting forward a proposal to use the same area in the park.

We are legally required to go through the public notification (consultation) process for the area in the park you want to use before we can progress your or any other applications we receive.


Any activities on a Council park must comply with either the Reserves Act 1977 classification (if the park is managed under the Reserves Act) or the Local Government Act. All activities must comply with the Christchurch District Plan.

The Council’s Bylaws, Strategies, Reserve Management Plan and Parks Handbook may also influence whether your proposed activity will be suitable for the park.

Council staff, Councillors, the Chief Executive and the Mayor do not have the authority to grant you an exemption from the legal processes to give you permission to run your activity on a park. The Local Government Act and the Reserves Act legally bind us to follow their processes.

Applying for a lease, licence or permit

When you wish to apply for a lease, licence, or permit we are required to invite the public to first submit a proposal through an Expressions of Interest (EOI) and/or Requests for Proposal (RFP) process for the sites you are interested in using.

The EOI and/or RFP usually take 4 weeks to prepare.

Since we are following the legal requirements for public notification under either the Local Government Act or the Reserves Act, the EOI and/or RFP will be available on the Government Electronic Tender Service (GETS)(external link) website.

You will need to register with the GETS website to access the documents and submit an application. The applications are usually open between 4 to 8 weeks.

What happens next

When the Expressions of Interest (EOI) and/or Requests for Proposal (RFP) public consultation close, an evaluation panel will evaluate all of the proposals. Applicants may be contacted for further information.

If the panel has a preferred applicant a staff report will be submitted to the Community Board whose ward the park is located in for their approval to start negotiations for a lease or a licence.

There is no guarantee your activity or proposal will be accepted or is compatible with the park.

How long it takes

If we require an Expressions of Interest (EOI) and/or Requests for Proposal (RFP), the process usually takes a total of 4 to 8 weeks to legally prepare, advertise, and remain open for consultation on GETS.

The consultation is open between 4 to 8 weeks. Once closed the proposals are evaluated. More information may be requested from the applicants, this can take between 2to 4 weeks before all the information is received.

If there is enough information a report is prepared and presented to the Community Board. The report preparation and presentation at the Community Board meeting can take 6 to 10 weeks depending upon the availability of meetings.

When the Community Board approves the applicant for a lease or licence, the legal team will negotiate and prepare the documents. This will take 8 to 16 weeks to prepare, advertise and register the lease or licence documents.

These processes are required under the Local Government Act or Reserves Act to ensure all ratepayers are treated fairly and equitably.

The total time from when a request to use a park to the issuing of the lease could take between 8 to 10 months.

Preparing your application

Initial information required from you

  1. The activity you are going to operate or provide in the park.
  2. Name and street address of the park.
  3. How your activity aligns with the use or purpose of the park.
  4. Benefits your activity will provide to park users.
  5. How many people you're expecting to use your activity per day.
  6. What name the lease or a licence will be under (legal entity holding the lease or licence).
  7. On a scaled site plan, show the dimensions of the area, including any structures or buildings you would like to use.
  8. Any Council structures or facilities you want to use such as ramps or jetties.
  9. The times of the day, days of the week and months you would like to operate in the park.
  10. How long you would like a licence or lease for the park, in months and/or years.
  11. Any equipment will you be bringing onto the park to operate your activity.
  12. If you require storage facilities for your equipment in the park.
  13. When you are using the park how you will ensure there is access to other areas in the park.
  14. How will people travel to the park for your activity, are there car parking spaces available and toilets?
  15. How you will ensure the public is not at risk when you are operating in the park.
  16. Do you have a health and safety plan while operating in the park?
  17. What are the cultural effects on Tangata Whenua from your activity?
  18. We require proof of Public Liability Insurance ($2,000,000).

We will need all this information to be able to consider your proposal. Your proposal may be put on hold if we are waiting for you to supply more information.

If your application moves to an Expressions of Interest (EOI) or Requests for Proposal (RFP) you will need to supply a business plan that includes your financial situation and future plans.

Preliminary research for you to look into

Before you make your application you should:

  • Contact a Council’s Duty Planner on 03 941 899 for information on rules in the Christchurch District Plan relating to your activity on the park. A resource consent may be required.
  • Contact a Building Consent Officer on 03 941 8999 if you require a building or structure on the park. You are likely to need either a building consent or a formal exemption from building consent. 
  • Allow 20 working days for Council to process a Resource Consent or Building Consent application. The Resource Consent application would go to a Commissioner for a decision.


There is no charge for Council staff to assess your initial proposal.

If your proposal requires advertising an Expressions of Interest (EOI) or Requests for Proposal (RFP), there is no charge for the time to prepare these documents. However, we may charge for any required property consultancy. 

An approved lease or licence

If the Community Board approves your proposal, Council staff will prepare the lease or licence documents and the following costs will be charged to you:

  • Public notification - Advertisement costs $600 to $800 if a single location, potentially increased costs for multiple locations.
  • Licence or lease legal document costs $400 to $500.
  • Not for profit licence or lease documents cost $250.

Annual lease or licence fee

Each proposal/application is assessed on an individual case-by-case basis. The annual lease or licence fee will be comprised of a:

  • Flat rate fee.
  • Plus a percentage of revenue or number of participants depending upon the activity, location, size and scale of your operation.

An estimate of costs can be provided on request if your proposal proceeds to an Expressions of Interest (EOI) or Requests for Proposal (RFP) stage.

Due to the amount of staff time it takes to calculate the costs, an estimate of costs is not provided until after we have received your initial proposal.