‘Parks plans proceed on pace’

Tuesday night, council received the second of four consultants reports on the transition.

Pitt Meadows passed a motion to target maintaining current recreation services.

Pitt Meadows passed a motion to target maintaining current recreation services.

The parks and recreation transition in Pitt Meadows is on track says Mayor John Becker, responding to criticism of the work done by the city’s consultants.

Last week, councillors David Murray and Bruce Bell took KDH Management Consultants to task for the pace of their work.

Coun. Mike Stark urged the consultants to determine staffing levels.

Council also decided, in committee, that all recreation services currently being provided through the joint leisure services agreement with Maple Ridge be retained, even after Maple Ridge leaves that partnership in October of this year.

Becker, who missed that meeting, said that was an important step, and now the consultants can refine their work, cataloguing what services are being provided, and presenting council with options for delivery.

Tuesday night, council received the second of four consultants reports on the transition.

Council passed motions that commit the city to a target of maintaining current service levels and providing services and programs using a hybrid model.

It will include both in-house staff and outside service providers – contracted services and partnerships with other municipalities.

“Our goal is to move services over as they exist, and then, in time, sort out what really is working and how we can tailor it for Pitt Meadows,” said Becker.

“At the same time, we need to determine the best service delivery model. Just because a service was delivered one way in the past does not mean that we cannot or should not consider alternative service delivery models.”

Becker wants to affirm that the consultants are doing the job.

“I’m at city hall a lot. I know they’re working hard and they’re doing a lot.”

In October of 2015, Maple Ridge announced that it will  exit the 21-year-old joint services agreement.

Pitt Meadows was left with a year to come up with plans to offer an independent parks and recreation function.

Recreation experts Kurt Houlden and David Leavers of KDH have been working with senior staff to prepare a plan for the creation of a “made in Pitt Meadows” solution.

Becker countered claims the work was not moving quickly enough.

“This criticism is unfounded and demonstrates a lack of understanding of the complexities involved,” he said.

“We acknowledge that there is a lot of work to be done in a very short period of time. We are committed to ensuring quality programs and services, access to space and reasonable fees.

Last Tuesday, during question period, a member of the public suggested the city shouldn’t expect a lot for $40,000 worth of consultant’s work, but Becker said there is no issue with council’s budget for the task.

“Forty thousand dollars, in my world, is a significant chunk of change,” he said. “But we are getting value for our money.”

The city will host an open house on March 9, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the lobby of the Pitt Meadows Family Recreation Centre to encourage the public to ask questions and provide comment on the proposed transition plan.