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Sport SA Slams Closure of Parks Community Centre

Sport SA Slams Closure of Parks Community Centre
September 30, 2010

Peak body Sport SA has slammed the South Australian Government's decision to close the Parks Community Centre.

The Angle Park centre, which includes a swimming pool, fitness centre and library and which offers education as well as art and craft courses, will be closed within two years and the site land sold, under cost-cutting measures announced in this weekâs South Australian Budget.

The sale will produce a cash windfall for the State Government, whose budget team valued the Parks land at $17 million.

South Australian Treasurer Kevin Foley would not guarantee profits from the sale would be returned to the western suburbs, only saying "we're putting forward a program of reinvestment" to replace the existing facility with a new $10.7 million centre in the western suburbs.

Treasurer Foley said a site for the new centre had not been decided but it would be built in the area of greatest need in Adelaide's western suburbs.

However, the new facility is unlikely to include the range of services offered at 'The Parks', including the Adelaide west's only swimming pool, a library and art and craft courses, a Treasury department spokesman stating "we fund services for that centre that we donât fund anywhere else."

Explaining the closure, a spokesman for South Australian Families and Communities Minister Jennifer Rankine said the Cowan Street centre, stated "we can't afford to keep the old centre going ... the maintenance costs each year are getting worse and worse."

Minister Rankine had also stated that 'sport and recreation' should not be considered part of 'State Government services."

Port Adelaide Enfield Council has been running the fitness centre, library, community theatre and classes on behalf of the South Australian Government since 2004.

Funding for council-run programs will be axed within six months.

The closure has been criticised by Sport SA Chief Executive Jan Sutherland who states "the Parks has been an excellent sporting community hub with the integration of sport, recreation, health, the arts and education and was at the forefront of planning for the community.

"How can sport and recreation not be considered part of 'State government services' - as stated by Minister Rankine?

"Is the State Government no longer striving to achieve the South Australian Strategic Plan Objective No 2, 'Improving Wellness - Preventative Health' and 'T2.3 Sport and Recreation' and have South Australians exceed the Australian average for participation in sport and physical activity by 2014?"

Sutherland also highlights that the plans to close the Parks Community Centre "does not provide any credence for ... the 30 Year Plan for Greater Adelaide, (for providing) 'healthy, safe and connected communities' and also is surely not 'whole-of-government planning and decision making'?

"A State Government project is developing new models of community sports hubs for 'Active Healthy Communities' but we will lose one."

The Parks centre was set up by the South Australian Government in 1977 to meet the needs of the areaâs disadvantaged community.

However, the community has held fears about the centreâs cloudy future since 2006, when the South Australia Government announced a proposal to sell parts of the land for a shopping centre and housing.

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