Pitt Meadows to hire two new recreaction managers

Both positions are to be filled by May.

Pitt Meadows Mayor John Becker.

The rebuilt Pitt Meadows parks and recreation department will see its first two hires as soon as next month.

A new parks superintendent and a recreation manager are positions that will be filled in May as the City of Pitt Meadows begins to establish its own department.

That job began after Maple Ridge announced in October that it would terminate the joint parks and leisure services agreement in a year. The two cities have partnered in parks and recreation for 22 years.

KDH Management Consultants presented council with a final report on the transition Tuesday.

It is a 97-page document with 19 recommendations about service delivery and the transition to a new system, and councillors will discuss it in detail at a council in committee meeting on Tuesday.

Mayor John Becker said the $40,000 report lays the groundwork for the transition, so city hall can “git ‘er done” by the October deadline.

“I gleaned significant comfort from each of their three reports,” said the mayor.

Reviewing the final report at the April 5 council meeting, he remarked that the consultants engaged as many stakeholders as possible in a short time frame, and said the work they completed could not have been completed in-house.

Coun. Bruce Bell, who described himself as a “naysayer” when the consultants were hired, agreed the city got good value for its money.

Now it is up to council to put staffing and budgets to the delivery of services, working with a budget of approximately $2.4 million.

The overriding principles in the report are to maintain current levels of recreation service, and to adopt a hybrid model with both municipally provided and contracted services.

“It is going to be a challenge,” said Becker.

The hiring of the two new managers, with salaries in the $100,000 range, will not cause a budget shortfall, he said, because council built $90,000 of parks and rec transition funding into the budget.

The two new managers will hire staff and “revamp the organizational chart,” said Becker.

Coun. David Murray, who is one of Pitt Meadows representatives on the recreation commission, said city hall will be able to tailor new rec programs to the community.

For example, 82 per cent of the work force in Pitt Meadows commutes away from the city for work. So more children’s programs should be made available in the after-school hours between 3-6 p.m., to offer these “latchkey kids.”

At the same time, he said there should continue to be shared programs with Maple Ridge.

“We’ve got a pretty good relationship with Maple Ridge going forward,” he said. “Mayor [Nicole] Read is willing to exchange ideas.”

Murray said the report emphasizes how “infrastructure rich” Pitt Meadows is, with three sheets of ice for an 18,000 population, a new $500,000 weight room, and the baseball and soccer field complex at Pitt Meadows Athletic Park.

Coun. Janis Elkerton agreed, and noted that two new artificial turf fields, for soccer and football, may be added just across the street from the field complex as part of the Onni light industrial development.

“We’re asking for more from our developers – not just what was done in the past,” she said.

 

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