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Design and

Land Use Plan &



Recreational Needs



In March of 2000, a Recreation and Leisure Needs Assessment Report was completed for CBRM. This report lists walking as the most common recreation activity by local residents. Nearly one-third of the population states that they are interested in spending more time or are already participating in swimming regularly. The report also mentions that most people travel less than five kilometres to participate in recreation activities, although those in higher income brackets are more willing to travel further than those in lower income brackets. Figure 2.3 shows existing regional recreation and open space land uses.

Twice as many rural residents partake in recreation and leisure activities as urban residents, although no correlation was made to age or employment. The report found that locations of recreational activities were focused mainly in the city centre, and in particular with respect to Whitney Pier, it is commonly agreed that “everything stops at the overpass”. While the report revealed that 60% of respondents paid user fees the majority of the time, almost one-third more urban residents paid fees than rural residents.

CBRM residents, especially those in the areas hardest hit by economic downturn, are concerned about their inability to pay large fees and costs for their children. The issue appears to be less about too few facilities, but too few inexpensive facilities, as some communities outside of Sydney core have a distinct lack of facilities. The recreational concerns of women and children may be over looked because the limited resources tend to flow into the maintenance of expensive facilities (e.g., hockey rinks), and that recreation is most often understood as male dominated, expensive (facilities and equipment) and competitive.

Two suggestions arose from the study:

  1. Increase awareness of programs and activities
  2. Increase awareness of the Recreation Department’s structure, funding, staffing, and responsibilities.

There was also interest in non-athletic leisure activities, such as a supervised and organized drop-in centre, with low or no fees, for all age ranges; turning under-utilized baseball fields into soccer fields (or developing new soccer fields); having supervised and equipped playgrounds; and maintaining existing playgrounds and fields.

CBRM has limited resources and funding available for meeting these recreational needs. This financial reality forces more responsibility onto the community, whether through the requirement for volunteers or through community fund raising. It is likely that in the future there will be a baseline of services that the Recreation department will provide and all else will fall to the community. Where this baseline is drawn is yet to be determined.

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