Sport funding cut fears in Auckland
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.
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.