There is no better opportunity than an Olympic and Paralympic Games on the horizon to boost participation rates and increase opportunities for physical activity in the coming decade.
The Active Ipswich Strategy 2031 and Implementation Plan, endorsed at Committee and set to go before full Council on 21 October, plans to do just that.
Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said Ipswich’s unprecedented growth and role as a host city in the Olympic and Paralympic Games puts a greater emphasis on planning to ensure Council is adaptive to the community’s needs for a healthy and active lifestyle.
“With the Olympics coming to our region, we are planning for an uptake in sports and physical activity. It’s important there are pathways for athletes as well as members of the community who are inspired to get more active,” Mayor Harding said.
“The Active Ipswich Strategy 2031 will provide strategic direction to guide Council to improve the health and physical activity opportunities in our community.
“It aims to improve access to active recreation facilities and services, and provide programs that the community can get involved in so we can support our residents to be in optimum health.
“Being active enhances quality of life by improving physical health, mental and social health which can produce significant flow on benefits to the economy, community and the environment.”
The Active Ipswich Strategy 2031 has been identified in Ipswich’s iFuture Corporate Plan as an important project for 2021-2026 ensuring Ipswich residents have access to a variety of activities and facilities.
The Implementation Plan details a series of prioritised actions to be delivered over the next 10 years with the first action to establish a Healthy Active Alliance that will bring local organisations and community groups to work together in a collaborative partnership.
As the Active Ipswich Strategy 2031 was endorsed at Committee, Councillor Fechner and Division 2 Councillor Nicole Jonic were also nominated to represent Council at the Healthy Active Alliance.
This collaborative partnership will bring together health professionals, academics and community organisations at the forefront of health promotion and preventative health.
Community, Culture, Arts and Sport Committee Chair Councillor Andrew Fechner said obesity and inactivity have been identified as significant risk factors in Ipswich.
“Ipswich has a high health risk profile with six out of ten people having at least one risk factor – smoking, harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity or obesity,” Cr Fechner said.
“Council recognises this is an important issue and through extensive analysis and community engagement have created a strategy that identifies how Ipswich people are using open spaces, how they would most like to exercise, and how council can help meet those needs.
“We have also identified barriers preventing people from exercising, such as lack of time, affordability and physical constraints and the steps council can take to mitigate these.
“Walking remains the most popular way people of all ages exercise and we have many great places – like the Brassall Bikeway, recreational reserves and open spaces – where the community can do that anytime for free and I encourage people to consider incorporating more activity into their daily life.”
There are three goals outlined in the strategy:
- Increased participation
- Better Places
- Stronger Partnerships
Four areas are outlined in the Implementation Plan:
- Strategy, Governance and Management
- Network Planning and Urban Design
- Formal Participation
- Informal Participation