Creating a Healthy and Safe Community Centre Banner Image
September 17, 2020 News, Recreation

Parks and recreation resources hold a special place in the hearts of many Canadians. Many parents, children, teenagers, seniors see the value in their local community centres and its programs, gyms, facilities and green spaces. Some people find these venues as a place where they can develop specific skills, others may want to enjoy various leisure activities with friends. Recreation and parks cultivate creative pursuits, active lifestyles and community connections.

Our two community centres normally serve over 3000 visitors every season. But in March, both facilities had to close abruptly and staff share the concerns of residents about the impact that these closures have on our community. Where will our seniors go to socialize, read their newspapers or play bridge? Where will our neighbours go to work out? What will parents do when their kids need to stay at home?

We’re working hard to solve all of these questions, but if there’s one thing that pandemic has given us as a community, it is the shared experience of having to navigate uncharted waters together.

We are so inspired to see the various creative ways that our community has come together: a musical jam session put on by neighbours brings evening cheer; a community fundraiser to get masks for seniors and essential workers; seniors signing up for a virtual computer cafe learning about technology. It is truly encouraging to feel the strength and resilience of our community.

We continue to plan, research, and look for better alternative programs and approaches. Though our options are limited, our guiding principles remain the same and our goal is still to create a safe, welcoming, and respectful space for everyone.

It has been no simple task to turn the safety guidelines we received from the government and the British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) into a series of operative measures. It continues to be a complex and evolving process that engages all of our staff’s skills and strengths – most of them going above and beyond their job descriptions to keep moving us forward.

When you come to Wesbrook Community Centre, you will notice the changes. The signs will show the way. The lounge door has become our new entrance, hygienic measures are in place, lines for social distancing are marked on the floor, chairs exceeding the occupancy limits are tucked away, plastic barriers section off open spaces, and many more. We’ve put a lot of thought in the changes we’ve implemented, but we ask that when you come to the centre, you can do your part in keeping our space safe.

Allow us to put forward the following guiding principles:

  • Be compassionate: Be kind. Be mindful of other people and your surroundings. Show everyone a little more understanding and support. Enjoy the personal space you have been given and keep physical distance from others. Hugs and handshakes are not possible, so greet the staff, your friends and your neighbours in other ways (we suggest joining one of our virtual programs).
  • Observe the rules: When you come to our community centres for programs or pre-booked services, please follow the rules on the signs and the advice from the staff. Be mindful of all these changes and help our instructors implement them. Be on time for your appointment or class whether it is in-person or virtual.
  • Be patient: Please read the longer emails we send you before coming to class – they contain important information. Take it easy when waiting in line – whether it’s for a health screening or at the front desk. Take the time to read the signs posted in classrooms and the common areas.

We cannot wait to welcome you back into our community centres, but for now, we are still partially closed and we will have to endure a few more months of this “new normal.” We are running a limited number of modified in-person and online classes and they are available for you to browse at myuna.ca/recreation. Should you choose to join one, please rest assured that we have done our best to keep you safe while in our centre, however, we must all work together to create a healthy and safe space through creativity, compassion, patience and discipline.

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