Rec centre what the docs ordered

BILL OF HEALTH FOR RECREATION HUB: Hawkins Medical Clinic human resources manager Marie Matter, Dr Ronan Mackle, Dr Julie Tullett and Dr Mike Bruorton have called on the community to support Mount Gambier City Council’s proposed sport and recreation hub to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for the community. Picture: BRITTANY DENTON

DOCTORS at Hawkins Medical Clinic have diagnosed Mount Gambier City Council’s proposed $39.1m sport and recreation hub as a vital infrastructure project to boost the community’s wellbeing.

Experienced general practitioners including doctors Mike Bruorton, Ronan Mackle and Julie Tullett have urged voters to support the project in this month’s elector survey, which is being distributed to all electors in Mount Gambier.

The survey will include a “yes” or “no” question and a simple majority will determine the fate of the multi-million dollar project, which has already secured $15m from the Federal Government.

Dr Bruorton said the proposed hub had the potential to “hugely improve” health and wellbeing outcomes for the community.

The clinic doctors expressed their views in a statement to The Border Watch highlighting their support for the centre, which is published on page 8 of today’s edition.

“As a group of doctors, we took the opportunity to access and examine the council’s virtual plans for the centre,” Dr Bruorton said.

“We were so impressed by these and sincerely request anyone who has any doubts about this centre to please examine the plans.

“We hope anyone who does this will not ask whether we need this centre but rather ‘how can Mount Gambier do without this centre?’

“This is not just a sports hub – recreation centres are vital for a healthy and vibrant community – they promote inclusivity and improve mental and physical health.”

Dr Mackle said the main purpose for community recreation hubs was to provide opportunities for active living and recreation in a safe, inclusive environment.

“I think this will be a very valuable resource for the community and it can only serve to improve the population’s physical and psychological health,” he said.

“This would be a very good venture to improve relations within the community and foster a sense of community spirit.”

Dr Tullett said the proposed multi-purpose indoor centre would meet the three criteria for the Flinders model of optimal health and wellbeing – biological, psychological and social.

“There is an acute shortage of pool access through the winter months and this impacts not only people who use a pool for exercise, but many people who would benefit from rehabilitation for medical conditions and post-surgery,” she said.

“Numerous studies have shown recreation centres improve mental health, while family ties are strengthened by spending leisure time together, so there are a number of psychological and social benefits too.

“People who regularly use recreation centres have lower stress levels than sedentary people and people who exercise regularly have lower blood pressure, delayed onset of diabetes, lower heart disease rates and overall increased longevity.”

The GPs called on the community to support the project.

“Juvenile criminal rates have been shown to decrease up to 25pc when a community has a recreation centre – it gives adolescents a safe place to play and exercise, keeping them off the streets,” Dr Bruorton said.

“It will also provide a tourism boost – recreation centres can host sporting tournaments, conventions and concerts that will bring people into the city.

“This obviously has the potential to bring in more revenue a few times per year and the plans clearly show the huge potential of the centre in this regard.

“We encourage everyone to be informed, examine the plans and vote to support what is a vital development for the city.”