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:
- Increase awareness of programs and activities
- 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
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.