The Importance Of Networking For Leisure Facility Managers

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” – Sound familiar?

ALFA Facility Manager Networking Breakfast - Networking

To succeed in business, you must continually connect with new people, cultivate your relationships and leverage your network.

These days, having a strong network of industry colleagues that you can ask advice of, seek assistance from, or exchange information with, can be more valuable to your success in business than the best college education. [Read more...]

Loren Bartley

Loren Bartley is the Executive Officer of ALFA and a life-long aquatics enthusiast. A former competitive swimmer and lifesaver, Loren has never been far from the pool. Loren's employment history has included the roles of Lifeguard, Duty Manager, Swim Teacher, Aqua Instructor, Lifeguard Trainer, Aquatics Manager and even CEO of Masters Swimming Australia, not to mention all the other sports she has worked with. These days Loren has swapped her goggles for the gym, but still gets to the pool once a week to watch her three kids in swimming lessons.

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Community Aquatic And Recreation Facilities In Dire Situation

The community aquatic and recreation facility industry finds itself in a dire situation. In established areas our infrastructure is aging and in new growth corridors there is limited provision for community leisure facilities as part of the planning process. Either way, we find local communities with limited access to quality leisure facilities.

Why are we in this position? Amongst many others, the reasons include the a lack of a national plan for community leisure facility provision, an unsustainable funding model for our facilities and unrealistic financial expectations placed on our industry. [Read more...]

Gary Penfold

Gary Penfold (Manager of Warringah Aquatic Centre) has worked in the Recreation Industry since 1980 in a range of areas including Sports Development, Dry Facility Management, Special Events and Aquatic Facility Management. Gary has contributed to the development of the industry through various voluntary roles during this time, including: ARI NSW Executive Committee, ARI Training Committee, National Water Safety Council, ARI Conference and Magazine committees. A former ARI President for three years, Gary Penfold currently holds the position of Chair of ALFA.

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ARV Residential Planning and Design Workshop Outcomes

Residential Planning & Design Workshop Background-

Aquatic and recreation centres are significant pieces of community infrastructure that serve large segments of a municipality and when designed thoughtfully and/or co-located with other elements of community infrastructure and services, they become vibrant hubs of community activity, providing opportunities for the development of invaluable social connections and community engagement, are significant economic entities and are pivotal to the provision of community health, wellbeing and fitness. [Read more...]

Aquatics And Leisure: Looking To The Future

We’ve come a long way in the 60-odd years since the huge boost that was given to aquatic leisure in this country by the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. And probably, in a sense, we’ve come even further in the last 30-40 years since the first moves were made to enclose some of the predominantly outdoor 50 yard pools that sprung up after the Olympics.

We’ve gone from summer-only, cold-water outdoor venues run with an iron fist by “hose and thongs” men to modern, multi-faceted, all year indoor and indoor-outdoor venues that offer a huge diversity of activities to millions of users annually. (Sadly, some hose and thongs staff persist: I met one not more than 10 years ago who bragged about pushing the clock forward 15 minutes near closing time and who got the hose going in the change rooms at 5.30 pm as a way of encouraging people to pack up and leave!)

The changes have been dramatic. The dominant model of an outdoor 50 metre pool and a static shallow-water “play” pool surrounded by lawns and rusty cyclone fencing (I think there was a company that manufactured it that way so as to be as unappealing as possible) has given way to heated indoor 25 and 50 metre indoor lap pools; specialised warmer water “program” and health pools; interactive water play areas; ever-larger fitness gyms (of increasing specialisation); a multitude of program rooms; consulting suites; cafes with quality food in place of snack-selling kiosks or canteens; quality lounges, seating and waiting areas; multiple change and other service areas including those for people with disabilities, and much more.

Management has changed too. Many of the hose and thong and family-managed venues have long since given way to professional management regimes with greater numbers of and more skilled staff. Many venues are still contracted out but most are to fully professional organisations (whether commercial or not-for-profit) with highly skilled staff, staff training programs and staff with a broad diversity of skills. [Read more...]

Are Poorly Designed Suburbs Creating An Epidemic Of Chronic Diseases That Will Cost The Health System Millions?

Today I appeared on the front page of The Age in Melbourne.  I would like to say it was because of my good looks, but the rather unflattering photo of my children and I indicates that this was not the case. The reason I was front and centre taking up most of the cover of one of the countries most read publications (as well as most of page 15) was because there was a major issue that is affecting many new communities throughout Australia that needed maximum exposure.

I got the gig as they needed a family in my suburb that could speak on the issue of urban design and how it can affect the health of families. As the Public Relations Officer of the Point Cook Action Group (PCAG), a role I perform in my “spare time”, I was happy to volunteer my image and comments, as this is something I am very passionate about. The PCAG is currently lobbying all levels of Government on the unsustainable and “unhealthy” development that is taking place in our neighbourhood without adequate infrastructure to support it. [Read more...]

Loren Bartley

Loren Bartley is the Executive Officer of ALFA and a life-long aquatics enthusiast. A former competitive swimmer and lifesaver, Loren has never been far from the pool. Loren's employment history has included the roles of Lifeguard, Duty Manager, Swim Teacher, Aqua Instructor, Lifeguard Trainer, Aquatics Manager and even CEO of Masters Swimming Australia, not to mention all the other sports she has worked with. These days Loren has swapped her goggles for the gym, but still gets to the pool once a week to watch her three kids in swimming lessons.

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Potential Of Cogeneration In Aquatic Centres

C2K Aquatic Centre in Castle Hill is one of the Sydney’s largest multi-purpose aquatic and leisure centres. The aquatic centre has four indoor pools including a 25-metre pool, an aerobics pool, a program pool, and spa pool.

The centre is open all year and offers facilities for everyone, ranging from toddlers to fifty plus groups, participating in activities covering swimming to fitness classes to gymnasium activities and fitness training.

The need was identified to improve the energy efficiency of the club’s aquatic centre in order to reduce current and projected energy costs and reduce the Club’s carbon footprint. As a result of extensive research, a Cogeneration system was decided on. This would provide the C2K Aquatic Centre with enough power to cover base load electricity demands while utilising waste heat to provide hot water for all of the centre’s swimming pools, and domestic hot water storage tanks was designed and installed by Simons Green Energy.

All of these pools were previously heated by costly electric heat pumps, while domestic hot water was supplied by gas fired hot water units.

What is Cogeneration?

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Are The Aquatics/Leisure Strategies Of Our Local Councils Heading In The Wrong Direction?

Point Cook – A unique suburb

I live in Point Cook, which is located within one of Australia’s fastest growing growth corridors. The population explosion in Point Cook has outpacing the provision of infrastructure such as public transport and local community facilities.  For example the next leisure facility for the area is not planned to be constructed and operational until 2021, despite our current facilities being close to capacity and unaccessible to many.

Our suburb is also cut off from neighbouring suburbs and their infrastructure, being uniquely bordered by Port Phillip Bay to the East, market gardens to the South, the Princess Freeway to the West (with only two freeway crossing points) and a one road access toward Altona and Williamstown to the North. With road congestion, no train/tramline and a limited bus route and timetable, accessing facilities outside Point Cook provides difficult at the best of times.

Local residents call for action

This isolation is proving too much for many of the residents in our suburb, but calls for action to address these issues, such as a detailed submission to council to request a review of their aquatic strategy to take into consideration the unique nature of our suburb seem to be falling on deaf ears. So yesterday, local residents (including my three young children and I) took a different approach, embarking on a trip to our local pool via public transport to get our message across.

[Read more...]

Loren Bartley

Loren Bartley is the Executive Officer of ALFA and a life-long aquatics enthusiast. A former competitive swimmer and lifesaver, Loren has never been far from the pool. Loren's employment history has included the roles of Lifeguard, Duty Manager, Swim Teacher, Aqua Instructor, Lifeguard Trainer, Aquatics Manager and even CEO of Masters Swimming Australia, not to mention all the other sports she has worked with. These days Loren has swapped her goggles for the gym, but still gets to the pool once a week to watch her three kids in swimming lessons.

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What Difference Does Winning The 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Mean For Australian Leisure Facilities?

The Gold Coast’s Broadwater Parklands came alive at 8am on 13th November as the announcement was made that the Gold Coast had won the bid (43-27 votes) to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games ahead of the emerging Sri Lankan city of Hambantota.

The Commonwealth Games will be held from 4-15 April 2018, with the majority of the events to be held on the Gold Coast.  The exceptions are track cycling and shooting, which are proposed to be conducted at Brisbane based venues, whilst the preliminary rounds of the men’s and women’s basketball competition will be held in Cairns and Townsville respectively.

Immediately reports were surfacing that the Commonwealth Games are predicted to deliver $2 billion in economic benefits to the Gold Coast and approximately 30,000 jobs in the next seven years.

[Read more...]

Loren Bartley

Loren Bartley is the Executive Officer of ALFA and a life-long aquatics enthusiast. A former competitive swimmer and lifesaver, Loren has never been far from the pool. Loren's employment history has included the roles of Lifeguard, Duty Manager, Swim Teacher, Aqua Instructor, Lifeguard Trainer, Aquatics Manager and even CEO of Masters Swimming Australia, not to mention all the other sports she has worked with. These days Loren has swapped her goggles for the gym, but still gets to the pool once a week to watch her three kids in swimming lessons.

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ALFA is on Google+, Are You?

Google+ Pages for businesses and brands were released today and ALFA immediately took this opportunity to set up a Google+ Business Page, enabling the ALFA Alliance to connect with a whole new community of on-line users.

Since ALFA’s inception, ALFA has embraced the use of social media as a means of connecting and engaging with the industry.  As well as the new Google+ Page, ALFA’s social media presence includes Facebook,TwitterLinkedIn and YouTube.  The recent addition of the ALFA Blog has proven successful in sharing industry expertise and generating peer-to-peer discussion on industry issues, with social media playing a big role in the sharing the content and discussions generated on this blog.

[Read more...]

Loren Bartley

Loren Bartley is the Executive Officer of ALFA and a life-long aquatics enthusiast. A former competitive swimmer and lifesaver, Loren has never been far from the pool. Loren's employment history has included the roles of Lifeguard, Duty Manager, Swim Teacher, Aqua Instructor, Lifeguard Trainer, Aquatics Manager and even CEO of Masters Swimming Australia, not to mention all the other sports she has worked with. These days Loren has swapped her goggles for the gym, but still gets to the pool once a week to watch her three kids in swimming lessons.

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YMCA Undercover Boss Australia – Lessons Learnt

I am not one to watch reality TV shows, but made the exception last night to watch ALFA member, industry colleague and Chief Operating Officer of YMCA, Nick Cox, take off the tie and return to his roots volunteering in a range of roles for the YMCA as “Undercover Boss”.

Nick donned his disguise as “Chris Williams” to experience some of YMCA’s programs and services firsthand to gain unique and valuable insights into the organisation.

I loved watching Nick (I mean Chris) at Camp Yarramundi (NSW) where he almost got kicked in the head by an abseiling kid, tangled in a rope whilst attempting to wind it up and dropping the “s” word in front of the kids as he got catapulted on some sort of bungey like trapeze.  If that had’ve been me, I probably would’ve said a lot worse.

[Read more...]

Loren Bartley

Loren Bartley is the Executive Officer of ALFA and a life-long aquatics enthusiast. A former competitive swimmer and lifesaver, Loren has never been far from the pool. Loren's employment history has included the roles of Lifeguard, Duty Manager, Swim Teacher, Aqua Instructor, Lifeguard Trainer, Aquatics Manager and even CEO of Masters Swimming Australia, not to mention all the other sports she has worked with. These days Loren has swapped her goggles for the gym, but still gets to the pool once a week to watch her three kids in swimming lessons.

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