Details from a service review of Tillsonburg’s Recreation, Culture and Parks department that was completed in April 2020 came before council on Oct. 13.
Chris Baird, director of Recreation, Culture and Parks presented a summary of a consultant’s report that included 74 recommendations covering the town’s cemetery, facilities, recreation, museum and park operations.
Its 30 parks recommendations included reviewing the town’s portfolio of outdoor sports facilities and taking steps to increase the proportion used for sports that require less field grooming; considering using more seasonal employees; and considering modifying the ‘normal’ baseball field grooming standards to allow for longer grass.
It was noted by Baird in the report that user groups and staff do not support reduced maintenance standards at this time, which could result in the increased possibility of injuries.
Many are operational recommendations, said Baird, that have already been fulfilled by staff, some won’t be considered, some require further analysis, and others will be proposed as part of the 2021 budget for consideration.
“There are a handful which include direct budgets for 2021. We have vetted them and brought forward only those that we feel will have the best financial benefit to the town. At this time we recognize there’s a lot of financial pressures.
“I think there’s a lot of really good ideas. All over, I think it was money well spent, it’s always good to have a fresh perspective of the operations.”
Baird’s conclusion after reading the report is that Tillsonburg is very well positioned as a community, with a “tremendous number of assets, recreation and otherwise, that make this town a great place to live.”
Coun. Deb Gilvesy asked, in cases like reducing museum hours or reducing the number of flowerbeds, if report recommendations had been sent to the Town’s advisory committees for comment and review.
“It was prudent that you (council) would have this update here this evening with the recommendations and the status of them,” said Baird. “Pending your acceptance of these we will then assign them to the respective advisory boards and have that discussion. Any decisions or recommendations that they put forward will come back as a motion in their minutes.”
The report is shown in its entirety the Oct. 13 council agenda.