Program success requires balance

  • May. 14, 2011 5:00 a.m.

By HANNAH KING

If life were a Sesame Street episode, the word of the month would be balance.

I have found myself thinking about balance in relation to a number of things: the balance of priorities we place on things such as hockey games (Go Canucks), royal weddings and voting in elections that will shape our future. But, more related to this forum, the balance involved in community services.

Finding balance is central to achieving wellness. It is also essential when providing community recreation, culture and parks services provided to help people achieve wellness.

Like personal wellness, there are a number of factors that come into play – the very diverse needs and interests of community members, instructor availability, costs, timing, scheduling, environmental impacts, facility availability and more.

Successful community services are based on striking a balance between serving the community and identifying the needs of individuals.

The local dog off-leash public process is a great example of balance in action. Recent upgrades and additions to our off-leash parks have been based on public feedback gathered over the past few years.

While many are in favour of providing dog-friendly spaces, there are others who are not, and their concerns and suggestions carry as much weight and require as much consideration as those of the dog lovers among us.

With this in mind, along with the enhancement of existing facilities for dogs, the expectations of dog owners will be more strictly enforced by city bylaw staff. Enhancing bylaw enforcement surrounding animal bylaws will help achieve the balance needed.

The recreation programming team is always looking to strengthen our inventory of programs. They constantly review programs and feedback from participants and make changes accordingly.

Recently, they have been working toward offering more programs for those in the community who have non-traditional work schedules such as shift work or folks who work from home.

Of course this may strike others as odd when they see programs promoted taking place on a weekday afternoon, but to those who have asked for such programs, it will be a welcomed change.

Perhaps the most obvious and visual example of balance at work has appeared as we prepare for the Bike to Work Week celebrations held May 30 to June 5. You can’t ride a bike or host a successful community event without first achieving balance.

So with balance in mind, I hope to see you out on the trails (with your helmets securely fastened) over the coming months.

If you have questions or comments about the City of Nanaimo parks, recreation and culture services or programs, please contact us at askprc@nanaimo.ca or call 250-756-5200.

Hannah King is a marketing and communication specialist with Nanaimo parks, recreation and culture.