Rachelle Stein-Wotten

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder

The Regional District of Nanaimo and its municipal partners will conduct a survey of sports fields and recreation facilities usage this year as part of its service agreements between the regional district and municipalities.

The District 68 services agreement between Nanaimo, Lantzville and Electoral Areas A, B and C describes how the jurisdictions share in the annual operating costs of the City of Nanaimo’s four major recreation centres, eleven sports fields as well as the two electoral area sports fields, including Rollo McLay on Gabriola. Both the District 68 and 69 agreements – the latter covers Parksville, Qualicum Beach and Electoral Areas E, F, G and H – require usage surveys to be completed every five years, the results of which are used to update the allocation formulas.

The last survey was completed in 2015. The upcoming 2023 survey was meant to be completed in 2020 but facilities closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic put it on hold.

Usage data from pools, arenas and sports fields will be collected through drop-in surveys, membership lists, user groups and recreation program registration. Residential addresses will be used to determine which communities patrons reside.

Both the District 68 and 69 agreements are set to expire in the next three years, making the survey timely in anticipation of discussions with partners on agreement renewals and updating terms, an RDN staff report says. A total of $63,000 has been budgeted to hire a consultant to conduct the usage surveys.

The 2015 usage survey indicated Electoral Area B represented one per cent of Nanaimo pool uses as well as one per cent of Nanaimo arena uses and 0.5 per cent of field usage. In actual numbers in 2015 Area B had 79 users out of the 7,285 total pool users surveyed. In the arenas in 2015, 109 users out of 6,770 surveyed users were from Area B. On Sports Fields in 2015, 19 users out of 5,180 users surveyed were from Area B, with 17 of those users being on fields in District 68.

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