How was the draft strategy developed?
Over the past three years since Cumberland Council was formed, Council has heard from our community about their needs and ideas for open space and recreation in the area.
Across projects such as the Cumberland Community Strategic Plan 2017-2027, Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP) 2017-2021, Youth Strategy 2017-2021, Cumberland Community Safety and Crime Prevention Plan 2018-2022, Cumberland Community Facilities Strategy 2019-2029 and other strategies , the community has identified many priorities for open space and recreation.
Furthermore, community surveys and interviews have been conducted with 181 people and 36 community sporting organisations to help inform this strategy in addition to consideration of the findings from the 2019 ParkScape benchmark user survey and 615 park user intercept interviews conducted in 39 parks across the Cumberland Council area.
What are the guiding principles Council used to develop the draft strategy?
The following guiding principles reflect best practice approaches to open space and recreation facility provision and management, and the specific needs and characteristics of the Cumberland community. They are intended to be used as a guiding tool for Council in planning for open space and recreation facilities, these are:
- Provide for the recreation needs of our diverse community, taking into account forecast population growth, to contribute to improved community health and wellbeing.
- Deliver a network of quality open space and recreation facilities that are safe, well-maintained, accessible, flexible and connected.
- Support the provision of open spaces that protect our natural environment and heritage by incorporating ecologically sustainable development principles to protect and enhance biodiversity.
- Work collaboratively with the community and delivery partners including developers, State government, neighbouring councils, school and sporting organisations.
- Focus on equity, efficiency, partnerships and innovation to resource open space and recreation in an increasingly constrained financial environment.
What have we heard?
The draft strategy responds to a number of key themes emerging from the above consultations, including:
The Cumberland community highly values its parks and open spaces, pathways and footpaths and recreation spaces. With increasing pressure on existing infrastructure and services due to strong population growth and increasing density, there is a desire to live in a place that supports recreation in streets, parks, town centres and where there is access to parks and green spaces.
There are low levels of satisfaction with open space and recreation facilities in the LGA and that improving the quality of what we have now is a priority.
There is a need for better quality and distribution of play spaces, more civic and community spaces in town centres linked with connected open space, sports grounds, fitness stations and multi-purpose basketball courts.
With increasing temperatures and heat across Western Sydney, providing shaded facilities and seating to support participation and spectators is a priority.
With increased pressure on existing facilities, there is a need for improved planning and management to reduce conflict between users.
What are the strategic directions for open space and recreation?
The Draft Strategy includes the following four strategic directions to focus delivery of priorities over the next 10 years
Deliver new open space and new recreation facilities that meet the needs of our growing population.
Increasing the quality and capacity of existing open space and recreation facilities.
Supporting inclusion and increased use by a diverse community.
Protect natural environment and increase resilience.
Feedback and public comments arising from the public exhibition period will be reported back to Council and used to inform the completion of the strategy.
How will the strategy be delivered?
This is the first Open Space and Recreation Strategy for Cumberland Council. The Strategy provides a framework to ensure long-term planning for open space and recreation across Cumberland is undertaken in a consistent way, based on population needs and growth.
Implementation of the strategy will ensure a more strategic, economically sustainable approach to the provision of open space and recreation facilities. It will also facilitate planning for improved access, utilisation and engagement on open space and recreation priorities.