As of January 1st, 2020, the City of Brandon's former Community Services Department has been renamed City of Brandon Parks & Recreation Services to better reflect its core functions of greenspace maintenance/forestry/horticulture and the coordination & delivery of recreation services in the community. The change has been implemented as per the City of Brandon's new Recreation & Community Facilities Master Plan, within which the ideas of bolstering the municipality's involvement in the delivery of recreation services and improving the public's participation in recreation programs and services were listed as key recommendations. The Master Plan was the result of extensive community consultation in late 2018 and early 2019 on the state of recreation in Brandon and was officially adopted by Brandon City Council in May of 2019.
Since then, City staff have spent a number of months planning, organizing and building up staff capacity in key areas, with the change accomplished by reallocating budget dollars to ensure no net staff increases. With its new vision and mission now in place, the City of Brandon's Parks & Recreation Services is moving forward in 2020 with a refreshed, community-centric mandate.
"What residents are going to notice right away about our new service delivery model is a greater focus on community-centric programming headed up by our recreation staff, who have been strategically stationed at the A.R. McDiarmid Civic Complex, the Keystone Centre, and at Brandon's Community Sportsplex," notes Director of Parks & Recreation Services Perry Roque. "As a result, residents are going to see better use of and more programming at community centres, parks, and municipal recreation facilities in their neighbourhoods. We are also confident our efforts will result in stronger partnerships with the many groups already providing recreation programming in our community, which will only stand to further benefit those who work, live or play in Brandon."
Roque says residents can be assured that the new Parks & Recreation Services won't be abandoning any of the popular community leisure programs run by the previous Community Services Department, though some programs might take on a different look or feel.
He adds that Parks & Recreation Services will soon have a much more user-friendly presence on the City of Brandon website, and that residents can also look forward to the publication of a comprehensive leisure guide twice a year, beginning in 2021. Roque notes that the Parks side of things will maintain a base of operations at the Parks Complex on McGregor Avenue, with a continued focus on environmentally-driven greenspace maintenance, neighbourhood beautification and urban forestry management.
Brandon Mayor Rick Chrest says the new operating philosophy of Parks & Recreation Services will help lay the building blocks for success in many other important areas of the Recreation & Community Facilities Master Plan.
"With our municipal staff now realigned and working to champion recreation as a vital service that creates healthy, vibrant and connected communities, it sends a positive message to our community that we are heeding the call for us to refocus and renew our commitment and investment in recreation facilities and services in both the short and long-term," Mayor Chrest adds.
Community members are encouraged to engage with Parks & Recreation Services at any one of its office locations or by calling 204-729-2257.