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COVID-19: Welcoming the return of school outdoor recreation

15 July 2020

For over 40 years, the Sunshine Coast Recreation Centre has been welcoming school groups to its active precinct.

For the first time in March this year, the centre closed its doors in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The centre employs a lot of Sunnie Coast locals. We want to sustain our local workforce, and get staff and business back as soon as possible,” Venue Manager Gary Doyle said.

With health restrictions now easing and a COVID Safe Industry Plan in place, the centre and local schools that use the facilities are preparing for a return of regular school camps.

“We want to reactivate the venue and get people engaged in sport and recreation activities again,” Gary said.

“In a complex environment like ours which includes education, accommodation and catering, we are adhering to several interlinked COVID-safe industry plans.”

The organisation has invested in fit-for-purpose handwash and hygiene stations, completed staff training, and put signage and physical distancing measures in place. Some modifications have also been made to programs to align with safety protocols.

“We’re ready. We can’t wait to have the kids back and we’re looking forward to the return of families,” Gary said.

“But it is about making sure we do it in a safe way that staff, schools, parents and kids feel comfortable with.”

The facility has reopened its rock-climbing wall and pool area to the community, with school outdoor recreation camps returning at the end of July.

“Our school program is already fully booked for the rest of the year,” Gary said.

The hiatus has allowed the centre to undergo maintenance on site, including the installation of new solar panels.

“We now have a 100 kilowatt solar system offsetting a significant amount of green energy. It means long-term cost savings that can be reinvested into camp activities and community programs,” Gary said.

Not only that, all on-site green waste generated from the camp kitchen is liquefied and turned into fertiliser for farmers.

“The aptly-named ‘pulpmaster’ is a real hit with the school kids,” Gary said.

To enquire about bookings at the Sunshine Coast Recreation Centre, visit the Queensland Recreation Centres website.