Asset management

Most council assets have something to contribute to active healthy lifestyles. For instance:

  • parks, reserves, playgrounds and aquatic facilities as places for activities
  • streets, footpaths, cycleways and walking tracks, for moving around
  • traffic management facilities, for safety and separation
  • bus shelters
  • streetscape items such as directional signage, landscaping, furniture, decoration and public art, which enhance experience
  • public buildings, such as cultural/ community centres and halls, as venues for activities and to implement policies (e.g. breastfeeding and healthy catering).

Acceptable level of maintenance and service levels can be used as ways of prioritising new works and the maintenance of existing assets in problems with financing. As part of engagement strategy some councils ask residents to nominate the minimum preferred condition level that they do not want to see particular assets drop below. Display posters presented a brief description of the asset and an example photo of the asset in each condition level (1 to 4).  The mix of asset management options include maintenance, improvement and the provision of new assets.

Prioritising active healthy communities related assets – to generate specific activities and services from objective and broad strategies in the Community Plan for Corporate and Operational Plans.

  • Key infrastructure (not necessarily major cost items) that would facilitate pedestrian and cycling connections should be identified and prioritised
  • The need for procuring new assets – community facilities and movement systems. Needs surveys and preparation of a broad-brush structure plan as a part of the Community Plan would feed such longer-term considerations
  • For proposed assets, ensure that Council’s Planning Scheme embody urban design principles (and work together with Public Works Plan)
  • Emphasising key physical connections in renewal programs
  • Establishing criteria for consideration in decisions on the disposal of assets (especially land), covering its potential as local open space or necessary connections to the movement system. For example, in considering reclassification and disposal of community land, a matter for consideration should be its potential for enhancing connectivity and access.

Prioritising future actions may involve the following:

  • Sustaining current services
  • City growth
  • New programs
  • Asset upgrade
  • Expanded programs
  • New assets

Using this approach, priority is given to current services, many of which relate to active healthy lifestyles. Urban expansion (‘community growth’) in keeping with good practice in urban design and infrastructure funding, should embody active healthy communities principles, particularly in relation to subdivision design. For the remainder, in-house negotiations could aim to prioritise active healthy living-focussed, new/ upgraded assets and programs.

In operationalising active healthy communities, the following key actions may be considered:

  • Elaborate on objectives and broad strategies relating to active healthy communities identified in Council’s Community Plan
  • Acknowledge that, at least in the short term, actions and priorities will reflect some current practices
  • Identify obvious existing programs and service areas that cover active living, e.g. recreation/ open spaces, community development
  • Identify existing actions in other program service areas that cover active healthy communities e.g. streets, cycleway and pathway construction and maintenance
  • Incrementally realign programs and actions with Community Plan active healthy communities objectives.

The World Health Organisation has also developed a checklist to identify activities with which to proceed.

Reference

  1. Wiggins D (2010). Addressing active living through council’s Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework. NSW Premier’s Council for Active Living: Sydney