Sunday, September 21, 2014

Treating Recreation/Sport/Activeliving like the Oil Industry!!

Alberta has some of the finest recreation/sport/activeliving infrastructure in the world. Billions of dollars have been invested by the Provincial & Municipal governments. The infrastructure includes thousands of miles of trails, swimming pools, arenas (hockey, figure skating & rodeo), curling rinks, multiplex leisure facilities, running tracks, speed skating oval, open space a wonderful parks (playgrounds to Wilderness areas), mini ski hills, golf courses, school gyms & Seniors Centres, With that kind of infrastructure you would think Alberta would be the most active jurisdiction anywhere.

The infrastructure in place, in many sports, provides the foundation component for Alberta's sport development system.

Alberta has a strong infrastructure base with the community recreation system, the Be Fit for Life Network adds key resource support through colleges and universities, the Centre for Activeliving is a valued research mechanism with a great track record. Alberta has over 100 recreation/Sport/Activeliving organizations that create a framework for hundreds of thousands of Albertans to participate in a huge selection of activities.

The challenge is that all of the above is underfunded and has limped along for years. What if it was adequately resourced? What if the jobs paid a living wage? Jobs! What if the research agenda was cranked up? Jobs! What if more Alberttans were participating? Jobs! Retail Sales up! What if there were before and afterschool programs for kids? Better Learning! Jobs! Tax Revenues! Healthier Kids = Better Learning!! Wow what would the ROI be? What would the savings be in so many areas.


In the oil industry billions is also spent on infrastructure; drilling rigs, pumps, pipe lines, refineries plus massive trucks and digging machines. If they stopped there we wouldn't have any gasoline for our cars or trucks. Oh you need people to make it work!! There are plans and check offs and rewards 
for reaching targets!! 

Massive trucks need drivers
Pump Jacks need support staff

The recreation/sport/activeliving infrastructure isn't treated the same, it is expected to run with minimal investment in people. Alberta could jump to the head of the line with key investments in recreation, sport & active living organizations and staffing (Staff all pay taxes). Add a plan! Add collaboration strategies! Add plans for low income families! Set some targets! Find a few Champions and someone to LEAD the initiative and give it your best shot Mr. Premier.

Gyms need trained instructors & trainers

 
Playgrounds need volunteers & people to build them
Why is it important to get Albertans Active? Healthier kids, healthy kids learn better, healthier workers are more productive and more innovative, a healthier population uses the healthcare system less, healthier adults = healthier seniors, healthier people are usually happier, healthy people usually have healthier communities. Check out the benefits!!

Seems pretty simple Mr. Premier.....don't cheap out, get good advice...this is a winner with moderate investments!

Invest $250 million in NEW dollars (no capital first three years) + target existing spending + create a common agenda across the system, penalize those who don't get on board, provide incentives for reaching targets.

Who would be involved....next post.

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