Fraser Rec District residents weigh in | SkyHiNews.com

Fraser Rec District residents weigh in

Hank Shell
hshell@skyhidailynews.com

Preliminary results from the Fraser Valley Recreation District's community needs assessment point toward improvements at the Fraser Valley Sports Complex, Grand Park Recreation Center and Pole Creek Golf Club as top priorities for residents.

The assessment, part of a process of revision for the district's organizational master plan, included a focus group and survey to collect data from full-time and part-time residents.

The preliminary results were presented at a recreation district board meeting in January.

"I think the information is going to all be very helpful in allowing us to prioritize future potential capital improvement projects," said Scott Ledin, director of parks, recreation and golf.

“I think the information is going to all be very helpful in allowing us to prioritize future potential capital improvement projects.”Scott LedinDirector of parks, recreation and golfFraser Valley Metropolitan recreation District

In the survey portion of the assessment, local residents prioritized spending on enhancements at Grand Park Recreation Center, with new facilities and Pole Creek Golf Club following.

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Part-time residents tended to heavily favor spending on Pole Creek Golf Club, with enhancements at Grand Park Recreation Center following.

Focusing on the Fraser Valley Sports Complex, full-time residents chose refrigeration of the Icebox Rink and field lighting as their top priorities.

Part time residents tended to favor expanded and enhanced playgrounds and paved parking.

At Pole Creek Golf Club, full-time residents chose paved cart paths as their top priority, while part-timers chose improved practice facilities with additional rain shelters close behind.

The district mailed more than 2,000 surveys to residents and received 587 responses, including 367 permanent residents and 220 seasonal residents.

Ledin said the district was comfortable with the response rate.

The focus group found "broad interest and support" for a playground at Fraser Valley Sports Complex.

The district is "really close" to starting phase one of the playground project, Ledin said. The district is about $90,000 away from being able to start the project.

Refrigeration at the Icebox Rink is also something the district is looking into in the short term, Ledin said.

Transportation to district facilities was also a concern in the group's findings,

The group floated the idea of a multi-use pavilion or similar structure at the sports complex as well.

When asked what types of facilities they would like to see in the future, both full-time and part-time residents chose a performing arts center as their top priority, which Ledin said surprised him.

Ledin added that the Town of Winter Park has had interest in a similar facility.

"Maybe there's an opportunity for a partnership with something like that," he said.

The district hopes to receive an executive summary of the results in March, Ledin said, adding that there could be community meetings in the future to determine how the data should be incorporated into the district's master plan.

"We're really trying to look 10, 20 years out, both to be able to maintain the great community assets we currently have, but also to look at ways to add these amenities that the community has said that they want and need," Ledin said.

Satisfied residents

Resident satisfaction with district programs and facilities, another major component of the assessment, seemed to be high, results suggested.

When asked to rate the district's facilities, a majority of survey respondents rated all of the facilities as "good" or "excellent."

"Certainly we were happy to hear that the perception of the district has improved overall," Ledin said.

The lowest scoring facility, the Fraser Town Park Tennis Courts, was rated "good" or "excellent" by 63 percent of respondents.

When asked to rate the facilities on a scale of 1 to 5, part-time residents rated the Pole Creek Golf Club and Grand Park Community Recreation Center highest, while full-time residents rated the Fraser Valley Sports Complex slightly higher.

All of the facilities were rated above average.

The focus group did identify some weaknesses in the district regarding programs catering to younger users and staffing.

The group found that there was a "lack of engagement and accessibility issues" with teens.

A "teen center" was the third most popular idea for a future facility among full-time residents.

The results also suggested that the "transitory nature of the area" makes it hard to retain instructors and staff for programs.

The district is already working to address some of those weaknesses by establishing goals for employee retention and additional programming, Ledin said.

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