Wednesday, May 22, 2024

New report finds shortfall in Northern Sydney sports facilities

A new report commissioned by the Northern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (NSROC) to review the supply and demand for sports facilities in the region has revealed a significant and growing shortfall in supply across LGAs in the region, the organisation said today.

The 81-page report Review of Supply and Demand for Sports Facilities in the NSROC Region was prepared by Otium Planning Group.

It outlines trends in participation and emerging sports including those resulting from the impacts of COVID-19, assesses supply and demand in the region in line with forecasted population growth along with identifying both threats and opportunities to mitigating the shortfall.

“Based on modelling outlined in the report, by 2026 Hornsby Shire will see a deficit in supply of sportsground area of 45 hectares, and this will only increase,” said Hornsby Shire Mayor, Philip Ruddock AO (pictured, main photo).

“The rate of shortfall is predicted to be more than any other LGA in the region.”

Accounting for a projected 11.3% population increase in the NSROC area by 2036, the findings of the report will help to inform both NSROC Councils and State and Federal Governments on the need for the continued rollout of such critical infrastructure in northern Sydney – infrastructure crucial in the maintenance of liveable and cohesive communities and that will support the increased supply of housing that the northern Sydney region is preparing for, NSROC said in a statement.

The report was officially released today (pictured, above) at the site of Hornsby Shire Council’s Westleigh Park development – a future premiere sporting complex that will feature three sporting platforms encompassing six sports grounds including five fields and an athletics track.

Commencing construction in late 2024, the facility – which will be funded by Hornsby Shire Council and the NSW State Government – is the most significant single opportunity in the northern suburbs area to address the shortfall.

“The site of our Westleigh Development will become the largest single contributor of sports and recreational land in the NSROC region. In light of the findings of this report, that makes this facility simply crucial to the amenity of the northern Sydney region. And as the land is already acquired, it is a rare and significant opportunity to dissuade the impending shortfall that the modelling of the report indicates — one that we’re proud to be delivering for our community and for neighbouring LGAs,” said Mayor Ruddock.

“We thank the State Government for their commitment to our Westleigh Park project and their recognition of its importance to the northern Sydney region and our neighbours.” 

Key findings of the report include:

  • There is a crucial need to increase the current supply capacity of NSROC sports facilities by 40% to 2026 (equivalent to 181Ha of total space) and 49% to 2036 (equivalent to 222Ha of total space);
  • In order to address the current and increasing shortfall of sports facilities within the NSROC region, a number of barriers will need to be considered including a lack of suitable land located in proximity to the majority of our population and high costs attributed to creating new sports facilities including sportsgrounds.

NSROC President and Mosman Mayor, Carolyn Corrigan was joined by Mayor Ruddock and President of Parks and Leisure Australia, Les Munn for the launch of the report, where they collectively called on the State and Federal Governments to recognised the importance of on-going commitments to funding and grant programs for such facilities in the region.

“Since our last report on this matter was published in 2017, NSROC Member Councils have been working diligently and working hard in an attempt to minimise the growing deficit in sport and leisure spaces in our region,” said Mayor Corrigan.

“Unfortunately, this latest report highlights that despite our best efforts, the mounting pressure of population growth is making it very tough for our member Councils to keep up with the demand. NSROC and the Mayors of the councils of Northern Sydney are calling on state government to recognise that with increased housing, public space and infrastructure for recreation and sport is more important than ever.

“We need the continued support of the State and Federal Governments in providing these resources for our communities through support for existing projects and grant programs.”

Review of Supply and Demand for Sports Facilities in the NSROC Region is available for download at: https://nsroc.com.au.

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