Over the last couple of weeks, I have written about how Sport Northland's vision for the region has recently been amended to now include "play and active recreation", which we believe better describes what we do as an organisation:

"All Northlanders leading better lives through involvement in play, active recreation and sport".

In this week's column I will provide some detail on the third objective in our strategy, namely "Spaces and Places":

The right spaces and places in the right locations are operating effectively and motivating more Northlanders on the pathway to participation and performance.

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By spaces and places, we essentially mean recreation and sports facilities and infrastructure (which would include walking/cycling tracks, skateboard bowls, parks infrastructure etc).

Sport Northland's work in spaces and places can be summarised as follows:

- Maximising utilisation and efficiency in Sport Northland owned facilities:

- ASB Stadium is owned and managed by Sport Northland as a community facility, with an annual operating and maintenance subsidy from Whangārei District Council (WDC) keeping user fees to a minimum

- Kensington Fitness is owned and managed by Sport Northland as a commercial business, with surpluses injected back into the community side of Sport Northland

- Whangārei Aquatic Centre is managed by Community Leisure Management (CLM) with an annual operating and maintenance subsidy from WDC

- Bay of Islands Recreation Centre (Kawakawa) is managed by CBEC with an annual operating and maintenance subsidy from Far North District Council

- Leading and supporting policy and strategy for spaces and places development in Northland:

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- Leading the development and review of the Northland Sports Facility Plan

- Supporting the development and review of district/local strategies such as the Whangārei Active Recreation and Sport Strategy (in conjunction with district councils)

- Establishment/administration of the Regional Recreational Facilities Rate (in conjunction with Northland Regional Council) which will contribute $3.9m over three years to sports facility development across Northland

- Supporting and advising other groups who are developing key sporting facilities and infrastructure that is prioritised in the Northland Sports Facility Plan:

- Sportsville Dargaville

- Te Hiku Sports Hub, Kaitaia

- Kaikohe Sportsville, Kaikohe

- Mangawhai Activity Zone, Mangawhai

- Pohe Island Sports Hub, Whangārei

- Home of Football, Tikipunga

- Supporting and advising groups to maximise utilisation and efficiency in recently completed key facilities (Sportsville Dargaville; Trigg Sports Arena, Kensington).

Having quality recreation and sports facilities and infrastructure available to our communities is a key enabler to increasing participation and performance in active recreation and sport; and with many areas across Northland having not been well serviced by facilities in the past, its great to see progress being made as a contribution towards Sport Northland's vision for the region.