Plan for City’s growing sporting population open for comment

25 Aug 2020

A plan designed to ensure the supply of sporting fields keeps up with the City’s growing population and sporting needs, has been placed on public exhibition.

The 10-year Strategic Sports Plan was developed to address future demand and inform the ongoing supply, maintenance and upgrade of sporting infrastructure across the Local Government Area (LGA).

It provides guidance and direction for 13 sports who jointly have 41,790 participants. The sports considered under the Plan are athletics, AFL, baseball, cricket, croquet, equestrian, football (soccer), netball, rugby league, rugby union, softball, tennis and touch football/Oztag.

“Understanding and planning for sports and recreation is essential in ensuring the community has sufficient and equal opportunities to lead a healthy and active life,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“As a growing city whose population will pass 200,000 during the next 20 years, we need to plan for ongoing changes in the City’s sporting and recreation landscape to meet both existing and future demands.”

There are currently 63 sportsground venues (140 fields) across Newcastle, covering an area of around 370.5 hectares.

Research by the Otium Planning Group found just 27 per cent of the City’s sporting fields were currently utilised at, or over, capacity and that more than half were underutilised.

It identified a concentration of fields in the east and central areas of the LGA, and the need for additional facilities in the western growth corridor.

It also recognised the importance of integrated planning with major regional development projects such as the Broadmeadow Sports and Entertainment Precinct.

Key recommendations under the draft Strategic Sports Plan include a review of sportsground allocations to achieve a more even, optimised usage and the implementation of a rolling capital works program to progressively renew and upgrade existing sportsgrounds, with a focus on drainage, lighting upgrades, additional shade provision, and improved, accessible and female-friendly amenities.

The draft Plan recommends consideration of opportunities to secure up to 20ha of land in the western corridor for future sportsgrounds.

Cr Nelmes said extensive research and preliminary consultation with sporting clubs and the broader community had already been used to inform the draft plan and its recommendations, however additional feedback is sought before the 10-year Plan is finalised.

“The draft Strategic Sports Plan will go on public exhibition for 42 days from 26 August via the City of Newcastle website and I encourage anyone interested in the future of sports in Newcastle to have their say on this important plan for our community,” Cr Nelmes said.

A further report will be presented to Council on 24 November for adoption of the Strategic Sports Plan.