TAYLOR, B.C. – The District of Taylor has assumed responsibility for maintaining and managing Peace Island Park, veering away from seeking a contractor.
Council made the decision at a December 6th meeting following a closed session discussion in November. The District is now looking to fill the position of park manager, who will report to the director of community services.
For several years, the park was managed and maintained by a contracted caretaker, which has “functioned well,” according to the District. There have been approximately six park contractors in the past twenty years.
“Our contractors have done excellent work on the District’s behalf,” said the November 15th report to council.
However, there were situations where the contracted model didn’t work, resulting in reputational risk to the park and the District, states the report.
Adam and Nancy Regan had ran the park since 2018 until a new contractor was hired in March 2021. Adam had been hired back in July with his contract ending December 31st, 2021, following issues with the newly appointed contractor.
“Council and district staff were both hearing complaints regarding the previous contractor, who was hired in March. The District tried to work with the contractor to figure out a service level that was satisfactory for everyone but realized the fit just wasn’t right”, said Fraser during Energeticcity’s Community Roundup on July 7th.
The park welcomes around 3,500 people on a busy weekend in the summer, and is a “jewel” within the region, according to Fraser.
“Staff’s experience in 2021 has been that increased influence on the administrative, financial, and reservations systems is required at Peace Island Park,” states the November 15th report.
“With the opportunity comes the addition of capacity in our staff contingent has positive impacts on the whole operation of the District and the park. The operation will likely produce better financial results as a result of more rigorous administration.”
The projected cost for the District to run the park through the community services department is $215,100, compared to the budgeted $217,225 in 2021.
The report also mentions the contractor model required minimal attention from the District besides technical and capital support.
“If the District operates the Park internally, the user experience, customer service standards, and financial management controls will all conform to District standards.”
The newly hired park manager will become a full-time employee and live at the park in a house provided by the District.
The manager’s responsibilities include overseeing the general operation of the park and the activities of the park team, inclusive of maintenance workers and admin support.