THE Wangi Fitness Trail was opened on Saturday, but even before the first push-up was performed on the outdoor fitness stations, the project was hailed as an impressive exercise in political cooperation.
Three levels of government combined to help bring the Wangi Lions Club project to fruition.
The fitness trail comprises four outdoor exercise stations installed on the lake foreshore next to the shared pathway between Wangi RSL Club and Wangi District Workers Club.
Jim Wilson, of Wangi Lions Club, said the project had been two years in the planning.
Funding received from Lake Macquarie City Council through development contributions, from the state government through the NSW Community Building Partnership program, and from the federal government through the Stronger Communities Program, had made the fitness trail possible, he said.
“We’ve been very fortunate,” Mr Wilson said.
Federal MP Joel Fitzgibbon said the cooperation across the three levels of government had enabled something special to be achieved for Wangi Wangi.
“Too often you see federal, state and local government politicians passing the buck and blaming someone else,” the Member for Hunter said.
“But below the surface you’ll see a lot of cooperation, and this is a really good example of community, local government, state and federal governments doing good things together.
“Community and politicians working together? Let’s see more of that,” he said.
Member for Lake Macquarie, Greg Piper, said state governments of both persuasions had realised the benefits communities enjoyed through funding from the NSW Community Building Partnership program.
“Both sides of politics have recognised just how important it is to put this sort of seed funding into our communities,” Mr Piper said.
He said $300,000 had been allocated statewide in each of the last two years of the program.
Mr Piper said demand for state funding always outstripped the money available, so it was important that the government allocated funds to the most worthwhile projects offering “maximum bang for your buck”.
Mayor Kay Fraser said it was an auspicious day for Wangi Wangi.
“It’s obviously quite big to have the three levels of government here today. That’s how important the Wangi community is to us,” Cr Fraser said.
She said it was vital that each level of government understood “the importance of these small communities around the lake”, and that council intended to continue to work with, and deliver for, those communities.