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Fitness leader calls for Hobart beach fitness park

Fitness leader calls for Hobart beach fitness park
July 1, 2011

Respected Tasmanian fitness club owner, Dean Ewington has called for a beach park to be established at Hobart's Bellerive Beach to encourage and promote public fitness and health.

Ewington, Managing Director of Oceana Health and Fitness, said that the beach park concept could incorporate a safe swimming area and a toddlers' pool was not new but would be a significant boost to improving health and fitness options for the general community.

Ewington explained "this would be a major investment in the health of our kids and to that end, we have an obligation to encourage this type of proposal. At the same time it would provide a real focus for the community for a range of other activities that could even be connected to the western shore."

Ewington believes that said the beach park would be a practical solution to ongoing problems of health and fitness in the community.

Last year he resigned from the Tasmanian Premier's Physical Activity Council after it endorsed Tasmanian Government spending on a NSW-based phone counselling service to provide advice on health and fitness. Earlier this month Ewington's decision to resign was vindicated when it was revealed that the service was costing more than $3,700 for each person it has engaged in its over-the-phone program.

Ewington explains "phone advisory services may sound good on paper but they are not the solution to the problem. We need the proper infrastructure to encourage healthy pursuits by the community both young and old, and not just for the Eastern Shore."

"A similar concept is working successfully in Geelong where there is a 'fenced' off beach swimming area to ensure the safety of people swimming in the beach complemented by a toddlers' pool at the beachside. "

The Bellerive plan would include:

• A circular jetty into the water.
• A wire mesh under the water as protection for swimmers.
• A toddlers' pool at the beach.
• Grassing the area at the current car park site.
• Moving the play equipment to the current car park site.
• Moving car parking away from the beach area.

Ewington has had informal talks with council on the viability of the proposal and there was some general agreement that it was worth looking at.

He continues "I am really putting it out in the public arena for discussion because I am firmly of the belief that this type of development is a positive way of keeping kids fit and active and to further improve and enhance the Bellerive precinct.

"If we expect people to get active we need to put aside places and provide free public opportunities for our children and their families to take part in healthy pursuits.

"The area could easily be linked with the Bellerive Boardwalk and new cycleways so that when there are activities at the Boardwalk, people can walk or cycle around the foreshore into Bellerive Beach to enjoy the healthy pursuits that a beach park would encourage."

Ewington (pictured) said the community needed to put pressure on its local council to continue to improve public open spaces.

"We must consider all alternatives because there is so much competing with people's time encouraging them to sit inside and not socialise or be active.

"We need to create the infrastructure in the right set up for this to happen and Bellerive Beach is an ideal area.

"How many times have parents heard their children say that 'they are bored' and that there is nothing to do? With a vibrant beach park area there would be a safe and healthy environment for parents and children to enjoy."

Ewington said that it was up to the community to give Hobart City Council the mandate to undertake the project, concluding "we need to put resources towards the physical areas and outdoor spaces to give our kids these opportunities.

"Apart from the health aspect, there are also social inclusion and economic issues to the proposal.

"Such a common public area would encourage social inclusion with people interacting with each other rather than sitting in their homes. It would also create a focus for the Eastern Shore and would stimulate more events around this area and the boardwalk.

"I am confident this could be a real centre of healthy activity for Clarence, the Eastern Shore and southern Tasmania."

For more information contact Dean Ewington at email: Dean@ohf.com.au

20th June 2011 - TASMANIAN HEALTH COACHING 'A WASTE OF MONEY'

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