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2011 Recreation service plan consultations: 2 - second session

29-May-2011 [9]

Recreation Service Plan consultation #2, Mitchell Field Community Recreation Centre, May 19 2011

By Jutta Mason

The meeting was in a nicer gym than the previous one – there were windows all along one side. The gym had eight tables, with 13 staff at the tables and 10 more staff doing the “themes” collection and walking around to the different tables. There were about 22 non-staff at the meeting.

The only city councillor present was Shelley Carrol, former budget chief under former Mayor David Miller. The moderator was Chris Brillinger again.

General manager Brenda Patterson reviewed the power point presentation. She asked: “Have we got the right mix? Who actually provides recreation and leisure services?” She said that management is particularly interested in how to “coordinate all the service providers into a system.” She filled in some more numbers: “47% of our services are registered services” – and only 6% of Toronto’s residents register for such a service. She said that of all the permit requests, 65% are for swimming. “One of our goals is to get better information” about the permits. Right now, “general rentals” is a common category for permits, and that doesn’t tell management enough about why people rent facility space.

Ms.Patterson also said that Etobicoke has a far higher registration rate for programs than other parts of the city, and that Ward registrations range from as low as 1% to a high of 11%.

She asked people to let management know how important certification is in the way that programs are delivered. “Why are there not more people who use the programs?” She said that there are community advisory councils in “many of our community centres,” but the powerpoint she was following said only “several centres.”

The participants at my table were: one senior, three agency representatives, and me from CELOS. Two of the agency staff said that the restrictions of the Welcome Policy are the worst for the youth they work with – no point of entry. Other than cost, the main recommendation was that there ought to be better publicity for the programs. The “themes” summary at the end was almost identical to the Scarborough list: more access, more publicity, more attunement to newcomers (women-only swimming times for Muslim women were mentioned again, not by Muslim women), better cleaning and fresh paint at centres, more programs for youth/ seniors/ newcomers. No one talked about certification.