The City of Campbell River is slowly adding money back into the Recreation and Culture Department’s budget to enable it to continue opening up more programming and still keep people safe. Photo courtesy City of Campbell River

City of Campbell River slowly expands recreation opportunities

Increased cleaning requirements brings increased cost

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit earlier this year, one of the first moves the City of Campbell River made was to close facilities where the virus could be spread by the public congregating, such as recreation hubs and community centres.

When that happened, the city pulled more than $700,000 back from the Recreation and Culture budget, as that department was only providing “virtual and outreach services,” according to a staff report presented at the Aug. 31 meeting of city council.

When the department began reintroducing in-person services in July, however, the city re-injected $93,000 back into the department’s budget.

A report presented to council Aug. 31 requested the addition of another $30,000 to continue the department’s “progressive and systematic approach to restarting in-person programming.”

That money will go towards increasing the operations at the Community Centre and Sportsplex, specifically, and much of the money will go towards implementing COVID-19 safety measures and additional cleaning and sanitization because the pandemic also triggered a requirement for enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of city facilities.

RELATED: Campbell River and SRD close recreation facilities

In the past, most city facilities have relied on contractors to clean facilities after hours, but those contractors were unable to provide the level of cleaning required within their existing contracts when the new requirements were implemented.

Many employees of the city’s Recreation and Culture department – specifically the Facility Service Workers (FSWs) – were redeployed to facilities like the airport, the Dogwood Operation Centre and the Downtown Safety Office to provide the enhanced cleaning needed at those facilities to keep them operational, while others were laid off.

“Staff are currently planning to gradually increase our indoor fitness offerings, expand weight room hours, gradually bring the 50+ members back and gradually introduce programs for children and families,” the report says, adding that while the pilot programming that has been reintroduced in the past two months has been “highly successful,” the department won’t be able to continue to expand services without additional FSWs.

“What we’ve learned during these pilots is that we can actually do more than we’d planned,” city general manager Ron Bowles told council during the discussions.

“But as we start getting ready for the fall and bringing more and more of our programs indoors – we know what happens in Campbell River in the fall, it starts raining – we need more of our Facility Service Workers, who are presently engaged in disinfecting the rest of our facilities.

This $30,000 is the cost from now until Dec. 31 to get some additional Facility Service Workers so we can offer the indoor programming at the Sportsplex and Community Centre and still do the disinfection services for the rest of the city.”

RELATED: Fitness Pods to open at Strathcona Gardens

The budget increase was approved by council.

“I want to give a huge thank you to our recreation staff at all our facilities for what they’re doing,” said Coun. Claire Moglove. “I participated in one of the fitness classes this morning – it was the first one that was indoors – and the extent to which they are making it safe for everyone is great.

“They’ve done everything they can to make it safe and the response has been very good,” adding that she feels the lack of organized recreation activities throughout the pandemic “has really been missed by the community.”

Watch the Recreation and Culture Department’s Facebook page (Facebook.com/campbellriverrec) for details on when various programs are re-opening and the safety precautions being taken.



miked@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Recreation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Babchuk nominated as NDP candidate

Seeks to replace outgoing MLA Claire Trevena

BC Timber Sales’ operations on the North Island and Central Coast to be audited

The Forest Practices Board randomly chose the region to check for compliance to legislation

Mount Washington to open Dec. 4 with COVID-19 protocols in place

Reservations for some services, face coverings will be required

Quadra Island adds voice to provincial old growth protest

Demonstrators and phoning campaign put pressure on provincial government

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

Most Read