The West Coast Spaces and Spaces Strategy for sport and active recreation facilities has been developed to understand the future requirements for sport and recreation facilities in the area. The West Coast area has a wide range of facilities, many of which are ageing or have served communities that have changed. The West Coast is a truly unique region within Aotearoa. This creates both opportunities and challenges that have been identified in this strategy. The relatively small population is spread across a wide area increasing the need to travel to access facilities. The Strategy takes a “hierarchy” approach to determining what facilities are capable of providing for region wide, district or community level participation or competitions. This is an important factor for the three territorial authorities to consider when developing future facilities as there may be cases where not every district requires facilities at a certain level within the hierarchy of facility needs.
Through its Community Sport and High Performance Sport Strategies, Sport New Zealand (Sport NZ) aims to enrich and inspire New Zealanders to develop a life-long love of participating in community sport and produce more winners on the world stage. Locally-led development of spaces and places for sport and active recreation that provide quality experiences for participants are critical to this success.
Sport NZ is committed to supporting national and regional sport organisations, local government and others with an interest in the planning, design, procurement, construction and operating of more affordable and sustainable sport and recreation spaces and places.
With leadership from the network of Regional Sports Trusts, Sport NZ is supporting and enabling better decision-making and investment for future sporting spaces and places. Sport NZ believes better decisions will be made through a collaborative regional approach if they involve local and regional government, education, funders, national and regional sports organisations.
The drivers for taking a regional approach to facility planning can be one or more of the following:
- The desire of funders to invest wisely in identified priority projects that will make the most impact.
- An ageing network of facilities needing refurbishment, re-purposing, replacement or removal.
- Changing demographics within a community, such as an increase in the population.
- Changing participation trends nationally and within a region requiring new types of facilities, or a new use of an existing facility.
- Increasing expectations of users and user groups.
- A growing acknowledgement that there is a hierarchy of facilities and that regional
collaboration is the only f air and reasonable way to build and manage international, national, regional and sub-regional facilities.
- The risks inherent in focussing on and responding to the wants rather than the priority needs within a region.
Sport Canterbury and its local government and funding partners are to be commended for taking a collaborative approach to develop a strategic region-wide view of what needs exist and identifying those priority projects for future spaces and places provision that will grow and sustain participation in community sport.