The State Government, through the Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund (CSRFF) program, is committed to achieving effective use of these funds through improved planning, design and management of sport and recreation facilities. Key principles of facility provision have been developed against which the allocation of funds will be assessed. The principles are based on the need for a planned approach to facilities provision, which takes account of justified needs, existing facilities and the social and financial impact of investing in new facilities.
The depth of information and planning required will vary according to the size and type of facility being proposed. It's recognised that the planning process for the establishment of a large multipurpose facility will be more complex than that which is required for the establishment or upgrading of a reticulation supply.
The three key elements of sustainability are incorporated in the planning process of sporting infrastructure. These include:
- Social sustainability – contribution to developing social capital and capacity building.
- Economic sustainability – elements of organisational and financial sustainability.
- Environmental sustainability – responsiveness to water conservation, energy efficiency and waste minimisation.
It should be clearly established whether a facility is actually required.
- A needs assessment, which clearly justifies and substantiates the need for the facility, should be undertaken.
- Consideration of alternatives – it may be possible that the demand can be met through other existing facilities or that alternative and more appropriate solutions can be found (e.g. exchanging equipment, employing a professional officer, using a bus).
A planned approach to facility development is essential. Diverse demands, rising construction and operating costs, the potential for duplication of facilities, the ageing of existing facilities, poorly located facilities and competing interests among providing agencies, supports the need for a planned approach to facility provision.
- Strategic planning evidence of how the proposed facility links into the overall vision for the local authority, sporting association and/or club is required.
- Compliance with the Department's local and regional planning requirements, noted in their strategic directions document, should be considered.
- Feasibility study applicants are required to examine the viability of the proposed facility. Depending on the complexity of the project, a feasibility study will be required. Each feasibility study will be different. However, it may include the needs analysis, address industry trends, location rationale, design, management plans, capital costs and sources of funds, an analysis of financial viability, ongoing operational strategies and future development. Where appropriate, the expertise of an experienced facility manager should be utilised in this process.
- An appropriate location situated on quality land, near public transport routes with vehicular and pedestrian access for the community are key considerations. Visible facilities which provide for personal safety and security of users should be encouraged.
- The impact of providing a facility is important to the economic and social well-being of the wider community. Consideration should be given to the impact of the proposed facility on other facilities and services in the local and broader area, and to external factors which could influence the viability of the proposed facility.
Co-ordination and co-operation between agencies responsible for providing community facilities will minimise duplication of facilities and maximise use of resources. Joint or multiple use approaches to providing sport and recreation facilities can work to create hubs within communities.
To maximise the benefits of joint or multiple use facilities it will be necessary to develop an effective management plan or agreement outlining the rights and responsibilities of the various partners.
As part of the planning approach, consideration should be given to whether existing facilities could be extended or upgraded for use on a shared basis. If this is not possible and a new facility is required, it should be planned in consultation with other community facility providers, to ensure minimum duplication and maximum viability.
- Co-located and/or jointly provided school/local government facilities are encouraged, as is the community use of existing school facilities.
- Co-located and/or jointly provided facilities with other government agencies e.g. Arts, Health, Tourism etc. is encouraged and consultation on the priorities of other agencies should occur.
- Co-operation between local groups, agencies and neighbouring local governments for shared provision and/or use of facilities is encouraged.
Community input into the planning process is essential in providing a facility which is relevant to local needs. This input should encourage futuristic and innovative ideas and foster community ownership of the project.
Community consultation and involvement throughout the planning process is required. Community consultation can be carried out through submissions, surveys, public meetings and forums with key groups, design competitions, artwork and/or representation on the project management committee. The information gathered through community consultation will form a vital part of feasibility, management and design considerations.
For major facilities, consultation must extend to the broader community as neighbouring communities may be in the process of planning similar facilities.
The management of a facility plays a crucial role in its continued successful operation. Management planning will impact significantly on design, administrative and financial considerations and should occur in the initial concept stages of planning for a facility.
- A management philosophy which outlines the degree to which a financial return and a social benefit is sought must be addressed as an initial consideration. A management structure which is appropriate to the achievement of local objectives should be developed.
- Management plans must be developed at the feasibility stage of the planning process to reflect design priorities and operational strategies. The management plan will show evidence of the operating philosophy, aims and objectives, target markets, programs and services, fees and charges, organisational structure, administrative systems, operating budgets, building (asset) management, sponsorship and marketing strategies, risks and assumptions that underlie the justification of the project, performance indicators and future developments impacting upon the proposed facility. The expertise of an experienced facility manager should be utilised in this process (refer to How to Develop a Management Plan).
- Asset management planning is necessary to ensure that maintenance, both major and minor, is scheduled and appropriately funded. Facility life is considerably extended when adequate maintenance checks are conducted (refer to Asset Management Guide and Life Cycle Cost Guidelines).
- The impact of providing a facility as well as affecting the feasibility of a project, is also an important consideration for management of a facility. Programming, pricing, opening hours, etc. can all be affected by other facilities in the local and broader communities.
Access and opportunity
To reflect the unique characteristics and culture of a local community and provide a focal point for developing a sense of community, the proposed facility should be designed to meet a broad range of needs and cater to diverse age sectors and physical capabilities of people within a locality. Factors such as physical location, the structure of lease/licence agreements, design, management philosophy, fees and hours of operation, will all affect the accessibility of the facility to members of the community.
- While the management of the facility is determined by the terms of a lease or licence agreement the agreed length of tenure should enable all parties to achieve sufficient return on investment and simultaneously encourage increased participation.
- Provision for specific needs including access for the disabled and as appropriate, child care, multi-cultural, youth and seniors' interests will be encouraged.
- An appropriate schedule of fees which accommodates low income earners either through concessions or discounts which can be offset by profitable programs or differential user fees will be encouraged.
- A management approach which fosters community development and links the facility into the broader community will be encouraged.
Careful design will provide functional spaces which, in turn, enable cost efficient management.
A multi-disciplinary team approach to design is encouraged so that planning, design, management and financial considerations are all taken into account. Depending on the size and complexity of the project the team could include the skills of a recreation planner, facility manager, engineer/project manager, architect, landscape architect and community representative. Representatives from the Department should be invited to sit on a project team where possible. Simple projects will require a team or committee with relevant expertise. The input of an experienced facility manager and/or of someone with technical expertise is important to ensure optimum functionality for both users and staff through the 'best fit' of equipment.
Design will also have maintenance implications and careful planning can reduce future costs.
A design brief which reflects the needs and aspirations of potential users and management is important. The design brief should include the purpose of the facility, site details, any planning constraints, a schedule of specific requirements, the standards of finishes, the cost limit of the project, management considerations, local environmental impacts, future requirements and commencement and completion dates. Community input should be utilised in preparing the design brief (refer to How to Prepare a Project Design Brief).
Australian Standards and Building Code of Australia requirements must be taken into account when designing a project.
Internal design elements
- Practical design which makes good use of space, accommodates management needs and minimises staffing levels will be encouraged.
- Flexible design that allows for multi-use of spaces, potential for modification to meet changing community needs and potential for future extension or expansion of the facility is required.
- Energy efficient/low maintenance products and design should be utilised in an effort to reduce the ongoing operational costs of the proposed facility.
External design elements
- The relationship of the proposed facility to its surrounding environments and its integration into the natural environment or town precinct should be considered.
- The interrelationship with nearby facilities must be considered at the design stage. A facility should be integrated into the environment created by existing facilities. Attractive, obvious access to and from existing facilities (such as schools) is frequently more important than proximity to those facilities.
Meeting the capital cost is only the starting point of funding for a facility. The operating costs and the need for design modification to meet changing needs are often the costs that will determine the long term viability of a facility.
- A variety of sources of funding for capital works including co-operative provision of resources, sponsorship, fund raising activities and other indications of self help are recommended.
- The short and long term viability of a facility must be evaluated against the purpose of the facility and its operating philosophy. Projected operating budgets for up to three years should be compiled. These should include operating fees and charges, sponsorship arrangements and details of how any shortfall in the operating budget is to be accommodated.
- Asset management plans which detail general repairs and maintenance schedules, the replacement of equipment, alterations and additions and how they will be financed are required. Over the life of a facility the maintenance costs will frequently outstrip the initial cost of constructing the facility (refer to Asset Management Guide).
Increase physical activity
The project must demonstrate that it will maintain current users as well as attracting new users to a facility. Facilities must provide for the total playing needs of participants rather than an organisation’s administration or social needs.