Revealed: Inner West’s future Recreation Needs

Monday, 18 June 2018

Inner West Council’s draft Recreation Needs Study: A Healthier Inner West is now open for comment.

The study warns that increasing urbanisation of the Inner West will necessitate new approaches to meet the future needs of our community.

Other themes to emerge include the need for existing spaces to become more inclusive, versatile and adaptable to meet a greater diversity of people and needs - including not only current sports fields and parks, but also exploiting places like rooftops and laneways. 

Diversity Woman

The study also emphasises the need to deliver new open space and recreation facilities, perhaps by collaborating with developers and major project delivery partners.

And the study makes a strong case for creating connections to nature such as unstructured, adventure play spaces for children and places where Inner West residents can commune with plants and animals, saying the mental and physical health benefits are immense.

The study relied on feedback from over 17,000 Inner West stakeholders, 2,000 of whom participated in an engagement activity.

The study found that the five most popular activities are walking, playing in a public space with children, personal outdoor fitness, and dog walking.

The study will provide a recreation strategy for the Inner West through until 2036. In the meantime the study urges Council to undertake some ‘quick wins’, which could include:

  • A feasibility and location study into synthetic turf sporting fields, to assist in making spaces more versatile
  • A children’s adventure and wild play pilot project, where children are encouraged to take risks and enjoy in unstructured play
  • A recreation laneways pilot project, and a play streets pilot program
  • A Welcoming Women and Girls Recreation Program to address the gender imbalance of recreation opportunities identified in the study
  • An accessibility audit of Council’s recreation spaces and promotion of accessible recreation spaces to address, so irrespective of age, gender or ability, everyone is able to access and participate in their chosen form of recreation

Late last year, Council voted unanimously to begin planning for a $65 million investment in sporting fields, parks, playgrounds and pools. Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said every person in the Inner West should have the opportunity to enjoy the health and social benefits of participating in sport.

“No child should be turned away because they have no space to play,” Mayor Byrne said. “No elderly person should have to travel many miles to enjoy the benefits of a hydrotherapy pool.

“This is the largest and most comprehensive commitment to the funding and support of community sport in the history of the Inner West,” he said.

The draft study is now open for comment at Consultation closes 27 July.

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Page last updated: 30 Jul 2018