Re­crea­tion re­view re­port re­quires fur­ther stu­dy

Le Reflet (The News) - - ACTUALITÉS | NEWS - GREGG CHAMBERLAIN gregg.chamberlain@eap.on.ca

A consul­tant re­port on The Na­tion mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty’s parks and re­crea­tion de­part­ment leaves coun­cil and ad­mi­nis­tra­tion with 11 re­com­men­da­tions on the table to consi­der. Mayor Fran­çois StA­mour finds in­ter­es­ting the rea­ding of the re­port, but la­cking in some cri­ti­cal de­tails.

“They (consul­tants) are gi­ving us a few ideas,” Mayor St-Amour said during an Oct. 20 te­le­phone in­ter­view. “But it’s going to have to come back to coun­cil (for stu­dy).”

A co­py of the 21-page re­port from consul­tants Ray­mond Cha­bot Grant Thorn­ton is avai­lable on The Na­tion web­site. It exa­mines how The Na­tion re­crea­tion de­part­ment has ma­na­ged and main­tai­ned all of the parks, fa­ci­li­ties and pro­grams that the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty has ac­qui­red since the pro­vin­cial amal­ga­ma­tion, two de­cades ago, of four smal­ler mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties in­to one large ru­ral one.

The re­port no­ted that the de­part­ment “is stri­ving to achieve a ba­lance of high­qua­li­ty ser­vice, ef­fi­cien­cy, as well as ef­fec­ti­ve­ness” since the amal­ga­ma­tion. The main chal­lenges for de­part­ment staff in­clude: aging in­fra­struc­ture, a wide range of re­crea­tion de­mands from re­si­dents who are spread across a large geo­gra­phic area and al­so re­present a wide va­rie­ty of age ranges and per­so­nal in­ter­est, pres­sure to main­tain ser­vices at their present le­vels even while in­ter­est in some re­crea­tion ser­vices seems to be drop­ping, and al­so ma­na­ging eve­ry­thing wi­thin bud­get li­mi­ta­tions.

A co­lour-co­ded ra­ting sys­tem was used for eva­lua­tion with green as “good”, yel­low as “im­pro­ve­ment de­si­red”, and red as “im­pro­ve­ment nee­ded”. In the three areas eva­lua­ted in the stu­dy for qua­li­ty, ef­fec­ti­ve­ness and ef­fi­cien­cy of ser­vices, the re­port’s fi­nal as­sess­ment was yel­low for each one.

The re­port no­ted good things about re­crea­tion de­part­ment prac­tices in each area. It cre­di­ted the de­part­ment for ha­ving a vo­lun­teer sup­port pro­gram in place to help keep ope­ra­ting costs down for va­rious pu­blic re­crea­tion ser­vices, ha­ving a ci­ti­zen’s ad­vi­so­ry com­mit­tee on parks and re­crea­tion, ha­ving an as­set ma­na­ge­ment plan in place to help guide fu­ture im­pro­ve­ments and ad­di­tions to parks and re­crea­tion in­fra­struc­ture and pro­grams, and a cen­tra­li­zed and au­to­ma­ted boo­king sys­tem in place for re­crea­tion ser­vices.

Pro­blems no­ted in the re­port’s briefs in­clude: lack of ac­cu­rate as­sess­ment of ci­ti­zen sa­tis­fac­tion with parks and re­crea­tion fa­ci­li­ties, pro­grams, and ser­vices other than “anec­do­tal com­ments”, a for­mal ma­na­ge­ment stra­te­gy for the vo­lun­teers who help with re­crea­tion ser­vices, in­clu­ding a more of­fi­cial “ap­pre­cia­tion re­cog­ni­tion” sys­tem for vo­lun­teers, and a more de­tai­led and clea­rer set of terms of re­fe­rence for the ci­ti­zen’s ad­vi­so­ry com­mit­tee, to avoid confu­sion about its pur­pose and res­pon­si­bi­li­ties.

The re­port al­so no­ted the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty needs a re­crea­tion mas­ter plan and al­so a bu­si­ness case pro­cess to help ma­nage exis­ting re­crea­tion as­sets and plan for fu­ture needs. Consul­tants sug­ges­ted ener­gy ma­na­ge­ment and equip­ment pre­ven­tive main­te­nance pro­grams to help with day-to­day costs, and an an­nual buil­ding condi­tion and re­view re­port on the state of fa­ci­li­ties.

A re­view of the cur­rent user-fee sys­tem for hall ren­tals was al­so re­com­men­ded, along with re­du­cing the num­ber of as­sets in the fa­ci­li­ties’ port­fo­lio to both help make re­crea­tion ope­ra­tions more cost-ef­fec­tive and re­duce ope­ra­tion ex­penses. The re­port no­ted that com­pa­red to other mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties of si­mi­lar po­pu­la­tion size, The Na­tion had a large num­ber of small com­mu­ni­ty centres and other re­crea­tion fa­ci­li­ties, yet the lo­west user-fee ren­tal sys­tem.

“It’s hard to com­pare our­selves with others,” Mayor St-Pierre said, re­gar­ding the ove­rall re­port. “We are quite a bit dif­ferent from other mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties. We are al­ways open to (pu­blic) feed­back.”

The com­plete re­port, in both French and En­glish, is avai­lable at www.na­tion­mun.ca. Grand ti­rage an­nuel des

Che­va­liers de Co­lomb

Des 600 billets ven­dus cette an­née, voi­ci le nom des ga­gnants suite au grand ti­rage 2016 des Che­va­liers de Co­lomb. No­tez que les heu­reux ga­gnants ont pour la plu­part re­çu leur chèque du­rant le sou­per de do­ré du 22 oc­tobre der­nier, pour le­quel 200 billets avaient été ven­dus. Grand prix de 10 000 $ : Ch­ris­tian Long­tin et Na­dia Blan­chard. Prix de 1000 $ : Guy et Dan Di­gnard, Do­rille VanHoof, Yves Sé­guin et Marc LeB­lanc. Prix de 400 $ : Ma­done Bris­son et Ste­ven Fau­cher ain­si que Ch­ris­tian Mé­nard. Prix de 100 $ : Sté­phane et Ni­cole Sé­guin, Diane Ouel­lette, Phi­lippe Ryan, Ray­mond Lan­dry, Ch­ris­tine McCoal, Fran­çois Cou­si­neau, De­nis La­vic­toire, Étienne Bour­bon­nais, Yves Sé­guin, Jean-Paul Sur­pre­nant, Bill et Su­san Toll, Lise We­ners et Serge Millaire. – Vi­cky Char­bon­neau

—pho­to Gregg Chamberlain

Le rap­port d’éva­lua­tion d’un consul­tant por­tant sur le Ser­vice des loi­sirs de La Na­tion semble sug­gé­rer que la mu­ni­ci­pa­li­té va bon train; par contre, il y au­rait place à amé­lio­ra­tion quant aux be­soins lo­caux en ma­tière de loi­sirs, et ce, d’une ma­nière plus éco­no­mique et ef­fi­cace.

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