Sports plan gets state award

LISMORE'S 10-year Sport and Recreation Plan, which was finalised late last year, has been sealed with a kiss of approval from Parks and Leisure Australia, who awarded the Plan the State Planning Award at their state awards ceremony held in Coffs Harbour last week.

Council's Sport and Recreation Community Services Officer, James Voght, said he was thrilled that Lismore had won the award up against major metropolitan councils, and even more so when the news was delivered by a seal.

"It was pretty fun. The winning envelope was brought on stage by one of the seals from the Coffs Harbour Pet Porpoise Pool, and then once the winner was announced I received a seal-kiss on the cheek. That definitely took the win to a whole other level," Mr Voght said.

"The four other awards handed out at the event went to major metropolitan councils and so I was concerned as to whether we were in with a chance, but it turns out we got over the line, and I'm delighted because as a state winner, we advance to the national awards to be held in Newcastle in mid-September.

"The award acknowledged many of the strengths of the Plan which included the level of consultation we undertook across the community, including with: sporting groups; the broader community through surveys and public exhibition periods where comment was invited; liaising with an external reference group that included major stakeholders; regular updates with councillors; targetted discussions with particular interest groups or sporting clubs; and cross-referencing with industry data from the Australian Sports Commission, the State Government and other agencies.

"A highlight of the Plan is that it includes some key projects and staged developments for Lismore and we are in the very first stages of kicking off the first one of those, being the redevelopment of Lismore Park.  Our aim for the park is to broaden it to continue to provide high-level and local sporting events facilities; improve its attractiveness and functionality for recreational purposes; and to improve environmental features such as drainage areas.

"I encourage everyone to familiarise themselves with the Plan as we are talking about important planned developments for the City and whilst this is a 10-year plan, it will be reviewed every two years, and so our doors are always open to sporting and community groups, or indiviudals or have further ideas or feedback."

Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell said the Plan was very worthy of the recognition.

"The development of the Lismore 10-year Sport and Recreation Plan has been a critical process for planning the ongoing growth of our city - both as a city of sport, and as a city that encourages and enables healthy recreational activities for everyone in our community, from older people, to the very young and across all-abilities," Cr Dowell said.

"Congratulations to James and the team at council for putting such an important plan together and for the recognition they have earned with this award.  I wish them all the best at the national finals."

Parks and Leisure Australia is a key professional association which provides a broad range of services to members of the parks and leisure industry.

Further information and access to Lismore's Sport and Recreation Plan 2011 - 2021 is available here.

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