ALL Shoalhaven athletes and residents alike will agree the region needs upgraded sports facilities.
In a positive sign for the region, it was explained, at Wednesday evening's Shoalhaven sports forum, the Illawarra and Shoalhaven region is firmly in the NSW Office of Sports' plans for improvements.
During the seminar at the Nowra Showground pavilion, NSW Office for Sports' Keith Wallace explained the NSW Government had just completed a Future Needs of Sports Infrastructure Study (FNOSIS) of Sydney, highlighting participation rates, facilities available and predictions for future growth.
After completing the Sydney study last year the NSW Office of Sport has recently started studies for both the Hunter and Illawarra/Shoalhaven regions - which means these two areas are firmly in the government's plans for upgrades.
"So far in the study, we have identified 26 sports played in the Illawarra/Shoalhaven region and the facilities all of them have available at the moment," Wallace said.
"One thing we have found is the Shoalhaven has a quantity of sports facilities at the moment but is lacking the quality."
Wallace explained the point of the study, which includes setting up a planning portal for data to be easily entered, was to ensure the government's money was invested in the right sports, based on the projections of each sports participation rates over the next 20 years and current player to field ratios.
One way they are planning on alleviating this problem is getting sports to develop adaptable facilities, that can be used across numerous codes, eg. cricket and Australian football.
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As such, Wallace emphasised to all Shoalhaven sporting groups at Wednesday's meeting the importance of getting their strategic plans in.
"It's on all you groups to put together your own development plans and pass them onto council, so that we at the NSW Office of Sport can see them," Wallace said.
It was also noted during the Kiama had the highest 'Active Kids' vouchers in the whole state.
Prior to Wallace's discussion Shoalhaven City Council's Craig Horgan outlined some of the organisations current plans and initiatives, which include; irrigation at Ray Abood Oval, Bernie Regan Sporting Complex, Bomaderry Sports Complex and the Added Area at the Nowra Showground (forcing the grounds to be closed for instillation and recovery), added drainage at the Ulladulla Sporting Complex and Sanctuary Point Oval, the addition of sheltered stands at venues such as Vic Zealand Oval and Lyrebird Sports Park, the resurfacing of 15 tennis courts across eight different locations and the new floodlight system being installed at Added Area.
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It was also explained how council plans to implement smart lighting control to all fields across the Shoalhaven, which can be operated by phone - helping with security, while giving firm indications of how much power is being used.
Council encourages all sporting groups to apply for future grants or their programs in place, such as their renovation program - where council will spend $2 for every $1 the sports group provides.