Saanich residents asked to provide input on parks and recreation shift
February 1, 2019
For Immediate Release
Saanich, BC – Through an eight-month study, the District ofSaanich confirmed that residents like the way the parks and recreation system operates, but they desire more.
Residents shared that they want Saanich’s four recreation centres to include a greater array of social, health and wellness programs while simultaneously expanding the traditional recreation and sport as well as arts and culture opportunities. Shifting from recreation centres to community centres is among the draft recommendations from the study conducted by Lees & Associates. The study examined Saanich residents’ expectations of recreation, health and wellness programs, services, activities and experiences.
“This study reflects our commitment to ensuring Saanich Parks and Recreation is valued by our citizens and reflective and responsive to their needs,” said Director of Parks and Recreation Suzanne Samborski. “Aligning our Parks and Recreation Department with community health and wellness and economic benefits is essential for a sustainable future. We need to actively support the District’s population and show how we can contribute directly and indirectly to the community’s economic vibrancy, health and well-being.”
The study was commissioned in response to Saanich’s growing and changing population and to help guide the Parks and Recreation Department during the next 10 years. Saanich’s population, currently around 115,000, is projected to grow to almost 130,000 by 2036. Saanich has an increasing population of children, youth, and older adults as well as increasing numbers of ethnically diverse and economically challenged individuals and families.
Along with a comprehensive analysis, the study included many opportunities for engagement, such as an open house, stakeholder and user group interviews and workshops as well as a statistically valid telephone survey of 300 randomly selected residents.
The study found that while 76 per cent of Saanich residents are highly satisfied with the District’s current recreation programs, activities, services and experiences, they are also keen to have more conventional recreation and sport opportunities, arts and culture opportunities and an expanded array of health and wellness offerings offered at Saanich’s four recreation facilities.
There are many recommendations outlined in the draft report, including:
- Emphasizing community feel through more spaces for social gathering;
- Envisioning a new master plan for Lambrick Park, including Gordon Head Recreation Centre;
- Focusing on weight room and fitness area expansion at all locations;
- Expanding multicultural, intergenerational and older adult programming; and
- Determining feasibility for expansion of current ice sheet availability in Saanich.
Provide input on the draft report
The draft report with recommendations is ready for Saanich residents to review and provide input. Input opportunities include:
- An open house on Tuesday, February 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Cedar Hill Recreation Centre, 3220 Cedar Hill Road;
- An open house on Wednesday, February 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. at G.R. Pearkes Recreation Centre, 3100 Tillicum Road; and
- An online survey open until February 24 at Saanich.ca/marketanalysis.
The final report and recommendations will be presented to Council for its information in late spring 2019.
Information displays about the study are available at Saanich’s four recreation centres and the Cedar Hill Golf Course. For more detailed information and to review the draft report, visit saanich.ca/marketanalysis.
Chris Filler, Programmer