Ararat Rural City Council have launched on online survey to gain feedback from the community that will help shape a feasibility study to guide future redevelopment of the Ararat Fitness Centre.
The survey will occur concurrently with focus group consultations that Council is hosting throughout January and February with existing user groups and sporting clubs.
Council chief executive Dr Tim Harrison said that community input would be vital in shaping the redevelopment of the centre into a modern, accessible sports hub that increases programming and participation.
"While the fitness centre has served the community well, the aging infrastructure is not up to modern standards to accommodate the range of programming needed for a vibrant and growing community," he said.
Home to a 25-metre indoor pool, basketball courts, gymnasium, aerobics/gymnastics facilities and squash courts, Council is seeking feedback from current users as well as those in the community who face barriers to accessing the facility.
"The Ararat economy is growing rapidly, changing the way people live and work, influencing the type of recreation facilities they need and when they are available," Dr Harrison said.
"What we need to hear from the community is what services are currently working well and identify any barriers to participation that could be addressed as part of a redevelopment of the centre.
"With Ararat's outdoor activities particularly impacted by the colder months, we want to maximise the diversity of programming offered and equity of access for young people and older people alike.
"The footprint and heritage considerations of the current facility will create limitations in the size and scope of any redevelopment, but I expect we will get some great feedback from the community on how we can better utilise some of the spaces."
Dr Harrison highlighted that participation in sport was one of the most effective ways people could take a proactive role in preventative health.
"Almost all lifestyle risks that impact on health outcomes are entirely preventable, but notwithstanding the importance of sport in rural Victoria we need to do more to encourage people to develop an active and healthy lifestyle.
"This is why developing key health and wellness infrastructure to drive an increase active recreation is a key focus of Council's Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2021-2025.
"Ararat Rural City is committed to developing sporting facilities and community infrastructure that is inclusive and accessible to everyone in the community."
The Ararat Fitness Centre survey is available on www.engage.ararat.vic.gov.au until Monday, 28 February 2022.
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