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Sport and Physical Activity No Longer For All?

AUCKLAND COUNCIL’s AUCKLAND PLAN AND LONG TERM PLAN

Sport and Physical Activity No Longer For All?

There is a real and serious risk of a lack of inclusion and investment in physical activity in Auckland Council’s Auckland Plan and Long-term Plan (LTP).

The cost of being active and the lack of open space and fit-for-purpose facilities are currently some of the biggest barriers to participation in sport and physical activity; barriers that will become even more difficult to overcome if the plans for investment, or rather the lack of it, are passed.

The HUGE and wide-ranging benefits of physical activity to all Aucklanders are also impacted. These benefits include improved physical and mental health and well-being, social connectedness, economic and productivity gains, and educational outcomes.

So what does this mean?

What is the LTP?

This is a ten year budget that outlines where Auckland Council funding will be invested. Line items within the plan include topics such as housing, transport, water supply and waste water management and sport and recreation.

What is the issue?

The Auckland Plan and LTP of 2015 stated the Council would invest in swimming pools and recreation centres and that success would be measured by “significant investment in sportsfields to improve satisfaction of the provision and quality by 15 per cent”. Community sport and physical activity were a key part of the Council’s Vision andStrategy.

The Mayoral Proposal released in November 2017, which started the LTP process, is heavily biased to transport, housing and the environment. Passing references to investment in sport and recreation, and the well-documented benefits of physical activity to Aucklanders, are qualified by comments like “where resources allow”. Community sport and physical activity no longer appear to be an important part of Council’s Vision and Strategy!

How does this affect me?

We can expect a reduction in Council investment into the maintenance of existing facilities, the upgrading of facilities that are in need of repair and the development of new facilities and open spaces. The provision of community sport and recreation facilities in Auckland will not be maintained, it will decline, if investment is notprotected.

Club

A decrease in investment into the maintenance and development of facilities for sport and physical activity may result in facilities becoming unfit for purpose. Unfit facilities are not only a potential Health and Safety hazard but will not attract more customers. The standard of your current facility will probably decline. Clubs will probably see a decrease in service levels.

Player/Coach/Referee/Parent

People in all of these roles at all levels will be adversely affected as the quality of experience that helps to engage and retain people in sport and physical activity will be reduced. This will have a negative impact upon the number of opportunities for people to engage in sport and physical activity thus reducing participation numbers and participant retention rates.

What should the LTP include?

The Long-term Plan should include a clear commitment to the importance of Community Sport & Recreation in Auckland, it should maintain and build on the 2015 Auckland Plan and LTP including:

Investing into indoor and outdoor facility maintenance, refurbishment and development; Future proofing community sport and physical activity facilities for the predicted population growth and diversification;

Keeping community sport affordable for all Aucklanders, not just those who would be able to afford to pay.

How do I get involved?

There is a public consultation process due to open on 28 February. ASA will keep you fully informed about key dates and the submission process once the information is available.

But in the meantime, what we do know for sure is that:

  • Doing nothing is not anoption
  • The voice of the sector and everyone involved in it needs to beheard
  • We ALL must make submissions asindividuals
  • We can’t leave it up to a few willingpeople
  • You can start to spread the word and educate family and friends as to the REAL dangers that we are facing

 

Like and share the following Facebook page to get the ball rolling https://www.facebook.com/aklsportmatters/