Despite poor registration numbers and numerous cancellations, Sicamous council is not giving up on summer recreation programming for the community.
At its last meeting, council received a summer program and events report from the district’s new program and events manager, Jillian Alexander. While large events like the Burnout and Canada Day were successful, summer programming was a wash. Alexander notes in the report that out of 29 possible program dates, only three had enough registrants to run. The end result was the cancellation of 10 proposed programs including swim days, day trips and craft days.
“Although registration levels were lower than hoped for, they can only improve moving into fall and winter,” writes Alexander, adding the plan for next spring/summer is to increase registration so the district can again offer swimming lessons and day camp.
Coun. Suzanne Carpenter commented on the tendency for residents not to register in advance.
“They just leave everything to the last minute… I’m hoping that in the future, even though people don’t show up the first few times, that we keep these programs going so people have a chance to hear about it word of mouth, etc.,” said Carpenter.
When she began work with the district in May, Alexander recognized she had little time to co-ordinate recreation programming for the summer, but hoped to “have at least a small offering of programs for late June, July and August.” This fact was not lost on Pam Beech, who later commented on the report, both in defence of Alexander and the importance of recreation programming.
“This is not meant as a criticism, and you may all know that I come from a background of having run these programs for over 25 years…,” said Beech. “I don’t want council to see these numbers and cancellations, and immediately feel a recreation director and doing programming was a waste of time.”
Beech noted how, in past years, swimming lessons alone drew about 40 kids annually.
“I just don’t want council to think why are we doing this?” said Beech. “You’re doing this because these things are needed here, they’ve been successful for all those years, they’re still needed here so, given time for Jillian to get knowing the community and to be able to have more lead-in time to prepare, it’s going to be different next summer.”
Coun. Terry Rysz, acting as deputy mayor, agreed, stating he fully intends to see all of this summer’s programs continue, “so that we can make them successful.”
“They might not have been this year, but I mean, so be it,” said Rysz. “Let’s move forward… and we’ll try and make that all work next year for sure.”
The district’s leisure guide for fall and winter is available at the district office and online at www.sicamous.ca.