Auckland Council is considering a more strategic approach to investment in sports facilities.
“Sport is critical to the lives of Aucklanders. It improves overall health and wellbeing. It also generates social, community and economic benefits” says Paul Marriott-Lloyd, Parks and Recreation Policy Team Leader at Auckland Council.
Along with health benefits, taking part in sport – which includes playing and volunteering - contributes to a sense of belonging in the community.
The aim is to encourage and retain existing volunteers who contribute to the sector.
An Active New Zealand survey, produced in 2013/14 by Sport New Zealand, showed 28.1 per cent of all Auckland adults had volunteered the previous year in sport and recreation.
In March 2016, the council commenced a four-week engagement process to seek feedback on the Sports Facilities Investment Plan: Discussion Document.
“We value the work by sports clubs, community groups, iwi and private investors and we're keen to draw on their knowledge. We also wanted to give Aucklanders the opportunity to share their views,” Paul, who lead the policy work, says.
The feedback showed strong support for a principled approach to investment and a targeted approach.
This will help Auckland Council develop an investment plan which delivers value for money and the best possible results for all Aucklanders.
Key findings of sports plan feedback
The engagement process involved 21 workshops with local boards, meetings with advisory panels and focus group workshops with over 40 representatives of sport and recreation organisations across Auckland.
A total of 121 email and online submissions were received.
Respondents noted growing pressure on its sports facilities as the population continues to increase and diversify as well as land supply constraints. They also drew attention to ageing facilities and the financial sustainability of sports clubs.
The feedback suggested that the council:
- focus its investment on increasing participation in sport
- target investment in community sport and young people in participation
- develop a series of principles to guide investment
- increase use of existing facilities and make sure they are fit-for-purpose
- review lease terms and conditions, including rents, for sports clubs on council land
- apply a more consistent approach across sports codes and address inequities in investment
- partner with the sports organisation, schools, government agencies the private sector and the community to unlock other facilities for public use and,
- build efficient and flexible new facilities, such as multi-sport or multi-use facilities.
Auckland Council is responding to the feedback, starting with a report to the Parks, Recreation and Sport Committee on the proposed structure of the investment plan. It is also looking at partnerships to address a significant supply gap in indoor court facilities.
A copy of the engagement feedback report Sports Facilities Investment Plan: Analysis of Feedback and Submissions and a report on the Key Components of the Sport Facilities Investment Plan can be found on link to Parks, Recreation and Sport Committee agenda.
Investing in active lifestyles
Concurrently, the council is taking a strategic approach to its investment in golf in response to public and other stakeholder feedback.
“Golf continues to be the number one sport for adults and is played by almost 100,000 Aucklanders each year. This delivers health and well-being, social and community, environmental and economic outcomes,” Paul says.
“At the same time the city faces land supply constraints that limit our ability to provide for other forms of sport and recreation.”
In March 2016, Auckland Council commenced a four-week engagement process to seek feedback on the Golf Facilities Investment Plan: Discussion Document.
“It was important for us to engage with the public and key stakeholders to understand the full range of perspectives. This will help us identify options that will meet the needs of Aucklanders as the city grows and diversifies.”
The engagement process involved workshops with local boards, meetings with advisory panels, workshops with golf sector partners as well as discussions with council-owned or managed golf courses.
A total of 94 email and online submissions were received.
There was general support for an investment approach across all respondents, including the proposed vision. However, views were mixed on future investment.
The feedback suggested that Auckland Council:
- looking at options to improve the sustainability of council-owned golf courses,
- invest in golf tourism to the region,
- invest in planting, maintenance of golf courses, water sensitive design, environmental plans and energy neutral/carbon positive golf course,
- invest in asset renewal and
- investigate options to improve the financial sustainability of council-owned or managed golf courses.
A series of option papers will be developed by the council, to better understand trade-offs associated with the suggestions made by the public and other stakeholders.
A copy of the engagement feedback report Golf Facilities Investment Plan: Analysis of Feedback and Submissions can be found on link to Parks, Recreation and Sport Committee agenda.