New plans for group and personal training in Sydney
There was outcry last year about Clover Moore’s alleged ‘cracking down’ on outdoor personal and group training in Sydney.
In fact, the Order of Australia recipient and former Australian Medical Association president, says, if she has anything to do with it, there will be more opportunity for people to exercise outdoors.
Within the next 10 years, Phelps says, the plan is that every resident of Sydney should be able to reach some parkland within 400 metres of their home. More parklands means more spaces for people to exercise outdoors.
“Creation of open spaces is something that is very important and high on the agenda over the next four years, but over the next 10 years team Clover and the City council have committed over $400 million on open space projects — things like sporting fields, capacity improvements on existing fields, indoor-outdoor courts, aquatic centre – a new one at Green Square, a new district level playground at Federal park, skate parks, outdoor gyms, walking paths,” Phelps says.
“These are some of the projects… that not only contribute to amenity – as in it is a nice place to live, but it also encourages to outdoor activity and active transport, as in walking/cycling and what that does is reduce non-communicable chronic disease burden on cities and countries of course.”
Last year, Sydney personal trainers took to social media to express their dissatisfaction after new regulations restricted group training before 6 am (and in some parks before 7.30am) and the use of stairs in public areas.
“You have to find a balance between the amenity of local residents and the use of public outdoor space by basically private businesses,” Phelps says, “but that’s something that the council philosophically encourages because it encourages activity and it encourages exercise and the use of public land to encourage exercise so I think if we can come to a reasonable compromise … then I think that’s a win/win.”
It is the opportunity to influence our ability to use and enjoy the outdoors that inspired Phelps into local politics. A Sydney-native, Phelps joins a unique gathering of home-grown personalities dedicated to developing Sydney’s potential including Vivid festival director Jess Scully and award-winning architect Philip Thalis.
“I’m very much a person who has strong opinions on things that I believe in,” Phelps explains.
“One of the problems in major party politics is that if you have an opinion that is counter to the party policy you have to keep quiet about it or speak against your own heart and I can’t do that.
“From my first discussions with Clover we found that we shared values and that the ability to think and speak with an independent voice were very important to me.”
“Fundamentally, the sorts of issues that are managed and made at local government level are decisions that really affect people at a personal level – it affects the way they can raise their families; whether they can take their kids to a local park, where they can walk their dogs, whether they can ride a bike to work, whether there’s a park available for them to go to…
“I think having a vision for the future and being able to play a really active role in making that come to reality in a way that is going to contribute to the wellbeing of future generations. So in terms of the big picture philosophy that’s where I’m coming from.”
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