Sport & Recreation Quake Group joins forces on recovery

Published: Wed 25 May 2011 03:51 PM
Wednesday 25 May 2011
Sport and Recreation Earthquake Leadership Group joins forces on recovery
Sport Canterbury West Coast, Christchurch City Council and SPARC have joined forces to help coordinate efforts to deliver sport and recreation in post-quake Canterbury.
Key people from these three organisations started to work together soon after the February earthquake, so there could be a coordinated response to the recovery of sport and recreation in Canterbury.
SPARC chief executive Peter Miskimmin said the group had been working closely together on delivering immediate responses on the ground and this arrangement had been recently formalised, with terms of reference agreed for the Sport and Recreation Earthquake Leadership Group.
Miskimmin said the leadership group would advise, direct and coordinate sport and recreation recovery in Canterbury, and would be the contact point for all sport and recreation organisations in the region and government agencies working on supporting the region.
The group is prioritising working with, and listening to, the sport and recreation community in Canterbury.
The three organisations involved in the leadership group each have a specific role to fulfil.
Sport Canterbury West Coast is leading the work on assessing the damage and the needs of sports, schools and clubs, delivering sport and recreation opportunities on the ground, and coordinating sector groups. Christchurch City Council’s role is around sports facilities and infrastructure. SPARC’s role is to support the recovery work and coordinate Government support for sport and recreation in Canterbury which includes working with the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA).
Miskimmin said that while the immediate response following a natural disaster had to be around restoring critical necessities for everyday living, such as clean water and sewerage systems, sport and recreation should not be forgotten for too long.
``SPARC has spoken to colleagues in Australia who coordinated sport and recreation recovery efforts following the floods in Queensland and the bushfires in the state of Victoria.
``They reinforced to us that while some may think sport and recreation is a low priority, the people who participate in sport and recreation don’t see it like that.
``Many people caught up in these disasters wanted to resume their sport and recreation as soon as possible because it helped give them a sense of normality and meant they were connecting with other people doing something fun and fulfilling. We’re getting the same message from Cantabrians.’’
Sport Canterbury West Coast Chief Executive Geoff Barry said sport and recreation organisations had been pulling out all the stops so that Cantabrians could play sport and enjoy their recreation this winter.
``Many sport and recreation organisations in Canterbury were badly affected by the February earthquake and we have been working with them to get things up and running again. The next step is how we move on from here. 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 need. We must also look at the big picture and determine what’s needed for the whole sector in Canterbury,’’ he said.
Christchurch City Council Recreation and Sport Manager John Filsell said a top priority for the leadership group now was working closely with the council to inform planning processes around the rebuild in the central city in the perspective of the wider recreational and sporting landscape.
``There has been substantial damage to sporting infrastructure and facilities in Canterbury. This creates short to medium term problems but also provides a longer term opportunity. We have to ensure that the decision makers get the very best information in a timely and consistent manner in order to optimise the outcome for recreation and sport.’’
The leadership group expects to be working together for the next three to five years.

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