In an environment of declining public sector funding towards the development of major sport and recreation infrastructure, Otium Planning Group is continuing to take an innovative strategic approach to planning in order to ensure both current and future facilities maximise their use and viability.

As many Local Governments are facing the perceived or real nexus between the gap and supply of sport and recreation facilities, there is increasing importance on the need to increase the capacity of facilities.  Further, the changing trends in participation is also impacting the way we use our sport and recreation facilities.  In order to address these issues, a shared approach is required from multiple stakeholders, including all levels of government, local users, peak bodies and the community.

Recent examples of planning work undertaken by Otium that addresses the pressure on sport and recreation facility supply include the following projects.

Sunshine Coast Infrastructure Strategy – Sunshine Coast Council

The aim of the Sunshine Coast Sports Infrastructure Plan (2019-2041) was to determine priorities and triggers for the supply of new sports infrastructure for the region over the next 20 years.

Background research included an analysis of population profile and projections across Council as a whole and within individual Planning Areas; audit of existing facilities; inspection of key sites; overview of site constraints (e.g. environmental, future road/rail corridor); review of Council reports/plans; review of state facility plans of sports where available; benchmarking and examination of facility capacity data; and analysis of sport participation trends.  Detailed consultation was undertaken with sporting associations and/or clubs; state sporting organisations; Councils officers and facility managers.

Modelling of future sports infrastructure needs for each of Council’s six Planning Areas considered the findings of background research and consultation.  In particular, the detailed analysis includes both an assessment of actual use of current facilities by field/court and detailed modelling taking into account population, participation, trends and facility capacities.

Newcastle Strategic Sports Plan – Newcastle City Council

Otium is preparing this important study in order to ensure continued access to diverse and high-quality sporting opportunities across Newcastle.  Council acknowledges that understanding the changing needs of communities and how these changes impact and influence the development and management of sport and recreation services and facilities requires detailed research and professional analysis.  This analysis will prioritise current and future demands so that future developments reflect demonstrated need rather than responding to unrealistic and unsustainable proposals.  Thirteen specific Sports Code Plans are also being prepared.

In order to achieve this objective, a rigorous research and consultation process is being undertaken by Otium in order to identify the rational and evidence to support recommendations that address future demand, and inform the ongoing supply, maintenance and upgrade of sporting infrastructure.  Consideration to current and future needs of the community, other adopted strategies and Council’s financial capacity and sustainability is also being explored.

Alice Springs Sports Facilities Master Plan – Alice Springs Town Council

Alice Springs Town Council has a strong history in delivering quality sport facilities to the community and ensuring suitable planning is undertaken to deliver opportunities to meet the future community’s needs.  We are preparing a Master Plan in order to provide direction on the future sport facilities needs and to ensure the Alice Springs community continue to play a major role in determining priorities.

Community engagement is a critical part of the study process and Otium and the Council have planned an extensive engagement program which includes a Sports Summit in early May, on-line surveys, focus groups, community meetings and targeted sessions with stakeholder groups.   Alice Springs already has a considerable range of sporting facilities and the challenge for the strategy will be ensuring continued viability of facilities, while targeting further investment to build on the incredibly strong sporting culture of the “Capital of Central Australia”. 

City of Greater Geelong Regional Sports Plan – City of Greater Geelong

In response to the rapid population and development growth of Armstrong Creek Urban Growth Area, several regional sports precincts are proposed.  Otium is preparing a plan that will inform Council of the role and demand for these regional sports precincts. The project is taking a broader regional analysis beyond the Armstrong Creek Urban Growth Area to surrounding municipalities.

Clear direction will be provided on the definition, benefits, need and success factors of regional sports precincts.