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Central Christchurch City Needs Sport

Central Christchurch City Needs Sport

Key central city sporting assets will help create jobs and attract international events to the Canterbury region, according to Christchurch's Central City draft plan.

Over 100,000 ideas generated through Christchurch City Council's "Have Your Say" campaign contributed to the draft strategy.

In addition to public input, local leaders, including the Sport and Recreation Earthquake Leadership Group (SRLG), provided formal submissions to the draft plan. SRLG spokesperson Geoff Barry, who is chief executive of Sport Canterbury, says the group undertook extensive stakeholder engagement in developing the submission on behalf of the wider sector.

"Sport and recreation have a serious responsibility to the wider community - in terms of driving economic growth and attracting events that boost South Island tourism," says Geoff Barry.

"We've taken the opportunity to support the development of a vibrant and inclusive city centre by promoting the placement of a significant, multi-purpose sporting facility in the central city which we believe will be highly utilised.''

Questions remain about the future of suburbs which have suffered damage to facilities such as QEII, and where sporting opportunities for young people have been drastically changed following the earthquakes.

"Suggesting a central city of the future should feature key sporting assets does not mean assets like these will be limited to within the four avenues," says Barry.

"But we believe that having a central city that can host events such as a cycling criterium, marathon or national championships makes a difference for tourism, and for local business. The community as a whole needs jobs and a healthy economy.

"It's about so much more than sport. When a city can host events like these, it's in a better position to attract conferences, arts and cultural events as well. That's the type of city we all want - and need."

The proposed central city "sporting hub" could be paired with a high performance centre and sports administration centre, sources of employment and growth for the region.

In the draft plan released today, the proposed facility is described as "iconic." Barry says that while the sport and recreation sector itself supports a "highly functional and practical" metropolitan sporting facility, it will be important to enable wider suburban sport and recreation access and further investment may be required to allow this.

"As a sector, we will closely consider the potential opportunity cost for the region's wider sport and recreation needs."

The Sport and Recreation Earthquake Leadership Group encourages input into the Christchurch Central City draft plan not only from the sporting sector, but also from the wider community.

To share feedback, please contact geoffb@sportcanterbury.org.nz

Barry says it's critical for the sporting public to understand that their views and feedback on the future of Christchurch sport and recreation are a critical part of the city's planning process. He encourages the wider community to follow Keep Sport Alive in Canterbury on facebook, to share their views and have a say.

The Sport and Recreation Earthquake Leadership Group is a partnership between Sport Canterbury, SPARC and the Christchurch City Council. The group was formed to ensure that efforts to deliver sport and recreation in post-quake Canterbury are carefully coordinated. According to spokesperson Geoff Barry, "A coordinated approach is important because we don't want to see sport and recreation organisations working in isolation and missing out on the help they deserve."


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