Recreation review report requires further study
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
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.