PFR Strategies and Plans: Commentaries
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Brenda Librecz: They hired Elaine Dewar to “toughen up the document.” Make the three directions “street proof” – so that the public will pick it up and read it and go “wow.” Dewar recommends that you put in some “wows” and “big asks” so the council has something to reach forward to. Dewar hopes to have a good draft by Monday, which will then be sent out by e-mail. They had about 500 residents in total at community meetings: about 30% were youth. “Most of the youth…all of the youth…were diverse.” Doing two more groups: one with sporting organizations June 15, one with community centre advisory councils June 17. A concern of the groups was that the mission and vision be contemporary.
Kathy Wiele: They had hundreds of returns from the staff survey they did, plus they consulted with about 750 front-line staff plus they have the environics results, plus they got e-mails. So Parks and Rec has a much larger number-crunching task than the mayor’s round tables.
Brenda: Strategic planning has been going on for two years. But if people were to say: “get out of the business of children and youth,” they’d be back to square one. “The service piece and the consultation piece are the biggest chunk.” “On July 5 we won’t have all the answers but we’ll lay out what the public expects from us.”
Katrina Miller, T.E.A.: “how do you plan to crosscut to all the other city plans?” Brenda: “We took the official plan and the 26 other plans into consideration.” Somebody else said they would like to have massive diagram integrating all the other plans with the Parks and Rec plan. Miller: “What did the staff say?” Brenda: the staff want billboards and radio ads. They don’t like the fun guide – they call it the “Eaton’s catalogue.” They feel there is a lack of promotion and a lack of identity. They feel there is inconsistent practice across the city – they’re not talking about harmonization but about a “sense of fairness and equity.” The staff feel they’re not recognized for all they do – they don’t just maintain parks, they’re also social workers.
John Macintyre: city forestry workers need “hand-held units,” need to collect data and analyze it, a lack of equipment is “inhibiting us from doing our work more efficiently and effectively.”
Brenda: in the public meetings people said there is a lack of customer service. Lighting and safety got attention. People said we should do more to expand the trail system, to “make the trails user-friendly so people would use them more effectively.”
George Dark: It’s no mystery why there’s a problem at parks and rec: they need more money. Brenda: staff said that the best time was around 1990. Since then, Parks and Rec has lost 50% of its resources: 50% less money and 50% less staff. Councillor Davis: there are three sections that should speak with one voice: urban design, urban forestry, and parks and Rec. Also, Parks and Rec needs a champion; there should be a Parks Commissioner.
George Dark: “it’s time to get Tommy Thompson back.” “I think you should go to the head of the line in innovation.” Somebody said that people should have smart cards that they swipe every time they do anything at a parks facility so that one can get correct information about how much use is made of what.
Brenda: On July 5, it’s important to have a game plan. Forestry is bringing in plants and trees to make their point. At each community meeting there was a children’s section led by a CTV host, and the kids made banners. The banners will be brought in for Miller to receive. The final meeting will be on June 29.