Mission’s parks, recreation and culture department will be getting a new administrative assistant at a cost of 92,000. The hire was a significant point of debate in council’s budget deliberations on Dec. 3. Mission Record file photo.

Mission’s parks, recreation and culture department will be getting a new administrative assistant at a cost of 92,000. The hire was a significant point of debate in council’s budget deliberations on Dec. 3. Mission Record file photo.

Mission’s parks and recreation department to get new hire after 4 years of requests

Director Maureen Sinclair said they’re ‘way behind’ and have had to ‘muddle through’ recent years

The District of Mission’s parks, recreation and culture department has struggled for years with their workload, and COVID-19 has made the situation significantly harder, according to its director, Maureen Sinclair.

The department is the largest in terms of staffing in the district, but has “no dedicated admin support,” said Sinclair. On Dec. 2, staff recommended council to budget $92,000 for a new administrative assistant for next year (covering labour, overhead, supplies and equipment).

“I was asked at the last meeting about how we would manage if this position was not approved,” Sinclair said. “I said we’d muddle through, and really, that’s the best you can with the resources that you have.”

The department has been asking for more clerical support for over four years, and will be responsible for operating numerous new services to come in the new year, including a new seniors complex, a new bike park and a new youth centre.

“We’re way behind in terms of … getting consistent filing, we have leases and insurance policies, we have more than half a million people – under normal circumstances – that come though the door,” Sinclair said. “Now we have people coming through the door of the activity centre, people coming through the door at the Boswyk Centre – all the things that go with that continue to increase.”

Sinclair was asked to speak at the meeting by Coun. Carol Hamilton, who wanted the public to hear the challenges the department was having – especially though the pandemic.

Sinclair said the impact on her department “has been quite significant,” close to 100 staff have been laid off, including all their programming staff since their facilities closed in March. On top of that, she said many staff have been redeployed around the district, and their facility’s systems still need to be maintained in order to adhere to legal and safety requirements.

When requests for more administrative support have been made in previous years, they haven’t always made it to council, Sinclair said.

“It has been a fairly significant pent up demand,” she said. “When we can’t support youth, when we can’t support seniors, when we’re dealing with all the issues with respect to high school students … We’ve really put it off.”

Acting Mayor Cal Crawford said Sinclair is speaking to a organization-wide shortage of staffing, affecting more than just her department.

“How do you provide public service that’s exemplary so that you don’t receive complaints? Those complaints not only spill into her department, they spill into our department … and everyone else in the room.”

Council moved the budget forward to a first draft with a 4-2 vote, earmarking the funds for the new position out of municipal reserves.

Coun. Mark Davies’ vote broke a deadlock among councillors to move it forward to the first draft. He said he’d rather not create a new position during the pandemic, but after listening to Sinclair and hearing stories about burnout affecting staff at other municipal park departments, he’d support the hire.

“Some are just leaving their cities and or retiring altogether, because of the sheer volume of issues they’re have dealing with, in particular, the anti-masking crowd,” Davies said. “I worry about the viability of both Maureen and her staff.”

RELATED: Heated debate at Mission council over property-tax increase in 2021 budget


@portmoodypigeon
patrick.penner@missioncityrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Mission

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

Just Posted

A mallard duck swims through Salish Pond in Chilliwack on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
WEATHER: Snow, rain in forecast for Fraser Valley

Fraser Valley has been treated to more than a week of mostly sunny weather, but it’s about to end

sd
VIDEO: Mission drag racer scores 1st career win, sets world record, makes history in 2020

Justin Bond, founder and owner of JBS Equipment, hits milestones in break-out year

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near Chilliwack secondary

Third high-school related assault Rob Iezzi’s cameras have captured since beginning of 2021

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

Giants defenceman Bowen Byram has recorded his first NHL career point (Rob Wilton/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants Bowen Byram records first NHL career point with Colorado Avalanche

Player with Langley-based WHL franchise assisted on goal against the Ducks

Surrey Fire Service responded to a fire in the industrial area of 192nd street and 54th Avenue early Saturday morning (Jan. 23, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey crews respond to fire in industrial area

Fire happened early Saturday morning

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered B.C. teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

Most Read