Sport fund­ing cut fears in Auck­land

North Shore Times - - LOCALJOBS - FELIC­ITY REID

Com­mu­nity sport is fac­ing the ‘‘se­vere risk’’ of a fund­ing cut from Auck­land Coun­cil, ac­cord­ing to the re­gion’s sports ad­min­is­tra­tors.

Ak­tive Auck­land chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Sarah San­d­ley said a ‘‘cash-strapped’’ Auck­land Coun­cil could re­duce in­vest­ment in the sport sec­tor ‘‘to vir­tu­ally noth­ing’’ over the next 10 years, as the coun­cil fo­cuses on hous­ing, wa­ter sup­ply and waste wa­ter, trans­port, li­braries and the arts, in its Long-term Plan.

Early next year the coun­cil will be hold­ing pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on a re­view of the Longterm Plan, and San­d­ley is en­cour­ag­ing club man­agers, coaches and com­mit­tees, as well as ‘‘ev­ery­day Auck­lan­ders’’, to have their say.

‘‘It is crit­i­cal for all of us to make our voices heard and get in­volved in pro­tect­ing sport and recre­ation in­vest­ment un­der the Long-term Plan,’’ San­d­ley said.

Coun­cil sport and recre­ation fund­ing, which San­d­ley said cur­rently sits around the $800 mil­lion mark, is spent on in­fra­struc­ture. The fund­ing sup­ports the de­vel­op­ment of new fa­cil­i­ties, main­te­nance and ren­o­va­tion of ex­ist­ing fields and fa­cil­i­ties, as well as light­ing.

Har­bour Sport chief ex­ec­u­tive Toni-Ma­ree Carnie agreed cur­rent and fu­ture com­mu­nity recre­ation spa­ces may be lost un­der the coun­cil’s plans.

‘‘Re­duced fund­ing in the re­gion will mean that our grow­ing pop­u­la­tion sim­ply won’t have an in­fra­struc­ture suit­able to pro­vide for the needs of all of those who want to par­tic­i­pate in sport and recre­ation, be it so­cial or com­pet­i­tive,’’ Carnie said. ‘‘Peo­ple will need to travel fur­ther and we know travel and dis­tance to sports grounds and fa­cil­i­ties is a bar­rier to par­tic­i­pat­ing.’’

The di­ver­sity of the North Shore com­mu­nity means that pay-to-play sport is in­creas­ing in de­mand, par­tic­u­larly from the Asian com­mu­nity, Carnie said.

The coun­cil’s Sport and Recre­ation Strate­gic Ac­tion Plan, which was de­vised in 2014 and set to be im­ple­mented over a 10-year pe­riod, states the fo­cus of the plan as get­ting Auck­lan­ders more ac­tive, more of­ten.

DAVE MACKAY / PHOTOTEK

Auck­land sport ad­min­is­tra­tors fear Auck­land Coun­cil will re­duce fund­ing for the sport sec­tor, which will im­pact on grass­roots sports fa­cil­i­ties like Birken­head War Me­mo­rial Park.

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