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Sport’s key role in the new Christchurch

Sport’s key role in the new Christchurch
August 16, 2011

Key central city sporting assets will help create jobs and attract international events to the Canterbury region, according to Christchurch's Central City draft plan.

Further details of the plan, and the role of sport in the new Christchurch, have been revealed by Sport and Recreation Earthquake Leadership Group (SRLG) spokesperson Geoff Barry.

Barry, the Chief Executive of Sport Canterbury, says the group undertook extensive stakeholder engagement in developing the submission on behalf of the wider sector, explaining "sport and recreation have a serious responsibility to the wider community - in terms of driving economic growth and attracting events that boost South Island tourism.

"We've taken the opportunity to support the development of a vibrant and inclusive city centre by promoting the placement of a significant, multi-purpose sporting facility in the central city which we believe will be highly utilised."

Questions remain about the future of suburban facilities, such as QEII, and sport in the suburbs of Christchurch, where sporting opportunities for young people have been drastically changed following the earthquakes.

Barry adds "suggesting (that) a central city of the future should feature key sporting assets does not mean assets like these will be limited to within the (city centre).

"We believe that having a central city that can host events such as a cycling criterium, marathon or national championships makes a difference for tourism, and for local business. The community as a whole needs jobs and a healthy economy.

"It's about so much more than sport. When a city can host events like these, it's in a better position to attract conferences, arts and cultural events as well. That's the type of city we all want - and need."

The proposed central city 'sporting hub' could be paired with a high performance centre and sports administration centre, sources of employment and growth for the region.

In the draft plan, the proposed facility is described as 'iconic'. Barry says that while the sport and recreation sector itself supports a "highly functional and practical" metropolitan sporting facility, it will be important to enable wider suburban sport and recreation access and further investment may be required to allow this, adding "as a sector, we will closely consider the potential opportunity cost for the region's wider sport and recreation needs."

Barry says it's critical for the sporting public to understand that their views and feedback on the future of Christchurch sport and recreation are a critical part of the city's planning process.

He encourages the wider community to follow Keep Sport Alive in Canterbury on facebook, to share their views and have a say.

The SRLG is a partnership between Sport Canterbury, SPARC (the New Zealand Government's sport agency) and the Christchurch City Council. The group was formed to ensure that efforts to deliver sport and recreation in post-quake Canterbury are carefully coordinated.

As Barry concludes "a coordinated approach is important because we don't want to see sport and recreation organisations working in isolation and missing out on the help they deserve."

To share feedback Geoff Barry can be contacted on 027 383 7008, E: geoffb@sportcanterbury.org.nz

Related Articles

7th March 2011 - Bleak outlook for Christchurch’s QEII Park complex

2nd March 2011 - Doubts over Christchurch Rugby World Cup matches

17th November 2010 - Christchurch uses The Amazing Race’s Phil Keoghan to attract Australians

11th September 2010 - NZ Tourism rallies after quake

5th September 2010 - Heritage and Leisure Buildings Suffer in Christchurch Quake

21st May 2009 - Government Commits $15 million for AMI Stadium


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