Diane Chamberlain is the new Pitt Meadows recreation manager.

Diane Chamberlain is the new Pitt Meadows recreation manager.

Pitt Meadows rec plan moving ahead

City needs new deals by Nov. 1.

Pitt Meadows has to start signing deals to make sure the garbage is cleaned up in its parks, that trails are maintained, and the taps keep running and the lights stay on in its arena and fitness centre.

And it has to get on it quickly as the Oct. 31 deadline for separating its recreation services from Maple Ridge looms.

Many contracts and agreements for keeping recreation rolling in the city will no longer be valid, so new agreements have to be in place by that date, according to a Pitt Meadows staff report.

Some services, such as supervision or health programs, simply need to be taken over by the City of Pitt Meadows.

But new contracts are needed by Nov. 1 to ensure there are plumbing and electrical services, landscaping, and someone to maintain heating and ventilation in city recreation facilities.

Despite the tight timelines, the break-up is proceeding smoothly, both mayors agree.

“All things considered, I think we’ve done pretty good job for our residents in terms of maintaining service levels and programs at a price point that’s very responsible,” said Pitt Meadows Mayor John Becker.

Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge are in the process of splitting their joint-use recreation deal of 20 years, meaning that by November, each will be operating their own department. Maple Ridge had been subsidizing Pitt Meadows’ costs.

“I think things are proceeding smoothly. There’s been nothing that’s come up that’s suggested otherwise,” said Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read.

Despite that split, Pitt Meadows still plans on spending the same amount of money, $2.5 million a year, on recreation as it did when it was partnering with Maple Ridge.

“The intent is to work within the existing budget envelope we have historically spent on parks and recreation services to demonstrate to our residents a level of financial diligence,” said Becker.

Pitt Meadows also wants Maple Ridge to keep maintaining its sports fields, duties that include mowing, watering, aeration and applying lines for at least two years, under a fee-for-service agreement.

Becker wrote to the Maple Ridge in April, saying that if Maple Ridge continued to maintain the fields, standards could be maintained and layoffs of Maple Ridge staff could be minimized.

“That request has been outstanding for some time now and I haven’t heard back,” Becker said.

However, at Tuesday’s meeting, Maple Ridge staff recommended that Maple Ridge sign a deal to provide those services for one year only, with the city only extending that to a second year if Pitt Meadows makes the request.

Maple Ridge also wants to tack on another 15-per-cent administration fee.

In addition to lining up services, Pitt Meadows is hiring more bodies.

The city recently hired a recreation manager. A new parks and facilities manager, a director of community services and culture and an arts and special events coordinator are also being named to the new department of parks, recreation and culture.

Overall, with two managers and nine full-time positions and 10 casual positions, the new department will have 21 people.

“I believe that we’re operating a leaner structure,” said Pitt Meadows chief administrator Mark Roberts.