District councils throughout the wider Bay of Plenty have come together to collectively manage the region's sports and recreation facilities.
The councils have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Sport Bay of Plenty and Sport New Zealand.
The councils are Opotiki District Council, Whakatane District Council, Kawerau District Council, Tauranga City Council, Rotorua Lakes Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council.
The agreement will be known as the Sport and Recreation Spaces and Places Regional Plan. Its outcome is expected to determine the current provision of facilities and gaps and provide direction and priorities for future needs of the region over the next ten to thirty years.
Sport Bay of Plenty chief executive Heidi Lichtwark said: "The Memorandum of Understanding outlines the commitment of the six councils in the project and Sport Bay of Plenty, along with Sport NZ and project managers Visitor Solutions applaud each council for supporting the collaborative and regional approach which will ensure a big picture view of sport and recreation requirements in the Bay of Plenty. It also allows the local councils to identify and plan for their community facility needs in the short, medium and long term."
Jamie Delich, Facilities Consultant from Sport New Zealand said that "Several regions (Waikato, Northland and Hawkes Bay) had completed plans using this approach and Sport Bay of Plenty is to be commended for taking the initiative to bring all the key stakeholders together to develop a plan for its region."
The anticipated date of completion for the development of the Sport and Recreation Spaces and Places Regional Plan is July 2016.