Oct. 1, 2008
FREDERICTON (CNB) - A sport plan providing a vision and recommendations for the development of sport in New Brunswick was made public this morning by Sport New Brunswick to Hédard Albert, minister of wellness, culture and sport.
"We are pleased to make this sport plan public, and we are especially pleased that the sport and recreation sectors were involved in its development," said Albert. "This plan will help all partners work together towards a common vision."
Colin Higgs developed the plan, produced as a result of a provincial brainstorming session, 12 regional consultations, and stakeholder meetings.
The document highlights the critical role sport plays in the development of young people and the wellness of individuals. It also documents the economic benefits and return on investment provided by sport.
"Sport touches the life of nearly every New Brunswicker in one form or another, and it is an important tool for the development of physical fitness and wellness, which are contributors to a self-sufficient New Brunswick," added Albert.
The plan contains 44 recommendations, addressing different components of the sport sector in New Brunswick, such as the development of athletes, coaches and volunteers; the sporting infrastructure; and a need for greater collaboration and co-operation within the New Brunswick sport system.
To address these recommendations, the plan suggests that additional investment in sport during the next three years is required to reach an annual target of $6 million by 2011.
"All of the sport and recreation stakeholders want to build a strong and vibrant sport community, where our athletes can enjoy a variety of sports at all levels, from the community to high performance," said Laura Swift-Christie, president of Sport New Brunswick. "We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport to see the recommendations in the sport plan become a reality."
The plan is based on two documents - the Canadian Sport Policy, and Long-term Athlete Development - Canadian Sport for Life - and focuses on four key ideas: enhanced participation, enhanced excellence, enhanced capacity and enhanced interaction.
"With the new investment in the 2008-09 budget, we continue to move in the right direction," said Albert. "Our new initiatives such as the Excellence Fund, which supports New Brunswick's Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, and our enhanced financial support to provincial sport organizations, designed to address the identified capacity issues, support the direction proposed in the sport plan."
The Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport is also reviewing the potential harmonization of its athlete assistance programs, exploring the feasibility of multi-sport games and considering improving the stability for sport organizations by providing multi-year, rather than annual, funding commitments.
"We have just completed a successful $1.4 million, three-year sport participation agreement, and we are in negotiations with Sport Canada to finalize a new bilateral agreement, which will be worth $1.65 million over three years," said Albert.
During the coming months, the Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport will work with its key partners and stakeholders to launch the plan and to prioritize future investment needs.
"I look forward to our continued work with the sport community in moving the sport plan forward," added Albert. "The plan provides us with solid areas upon which we can build and also identifies where we should collectively invest for future growth."
Individuals may consult the New Brunswick Sport Plan at http://www.gnb.ca/0131/index-e.asp.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Vicky Deschênes, communications, Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport, 506-457-6445; Jason Dickson, Sport New Brunswick, 506-451-1327.