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Future of Recreation

Motherhood and Apple Pie   19-Sep-2012 [6748]

• City's Community Development and Recreation Committee hears expert panel on Future of Recreation in Toronto

I attended this meeting to see if I could learn anything. I didn't.

Jim Hart, the General Manager of Parks, Forestry & Recreation (PFR) started by introducing the speakers, having been mandated by the committee in May to assemble such a panel. Mr Hart spoke using the catch-phrases of the upcoming recreation plan - equitable, quality, inclusion, capacity building - for "setting priorities" and "direct improvements".

He specified the challenges as being: increasing participation, reducing barriers, providing consistent levels of services, and developing partnerships. There are all ironic statements to many readers of this blog.

Dr. Browne presented the case for cost-savings of recreation, citing research that direct investment in recreation saves lots of money in social services.

Mr. Antunes cited statistics of poor engagement of youth in physical activity: only 7% of kids reach the minimal 1 hr per day; average 3 hours per week; 6 hours per day in front of screens of one kind or another; reduction in organized sport from 77% to 59% between 1992, and 2005.

Bruce Kid made the case for "intentional" recreation, by which he seemed to mean organized sports. He wanted to link the PFR recreation plan to the upcoming Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, as a "legacy" plan.

Ms. Doyle of United Way made the case for "affordable, accessible, inclusive" recreation to make for stronger neighborhoods. Resident engagement and voice, leveraging investments, strengthening infrastructure, and strengthening programs.

Ho, hum. All good, but nothing raised my eyebrows in interest.