Port McNeill Community Events Facebook photo

Port McNeill Community Events Facebook photo

Port McNeill is looking for volunteers for Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee

Councillor Derek Koel will be serving as the council liaison for the committee

The Town of Port McNeill is looking for volunteers for its new Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee.

The town recently put out a statement on social media saying there are spots for nine forward-thinking residents who are willing to step up and volunteer their time.

“While no experience is required, except gumption and community spirit, some knowledge of parks and recreation or previous committee involvement would be an asset,” the statement read. “The Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee’s primary goal will be to develop a Parks and Recreation Strategy consistent with the Official Community Plan (OCP). The committee will advise on projects, policies, bylaws, and give website input, consult with stakeholders, and coordinate new initiatives with the town.”

Port McNeill councillor Derek Koel, whose portfolio has included parks and recreation for the last two years, noted this has been a long time coming.

“I’ve been living here for 23 years now and I don’t recall us ever having a recreation committee before,” he said. “It’s always kind of bugged me, and I thought we should have a committee looking at these kinds of issues in our town.”

When Koel was first elected back in 2018, he managed to get a motion passed for $25,000 a year to be put aside for recreation, but that money ended up going towards the Active Transportation Plan, which he ultimately feels “didn’t really live up to my expectations.”

Koel will be serving as the council liaison for the committee, and he will be a non-voting supporter.

As for how the idea for the committee came about, Koel said Councillor Ann-Marie Baron had suggested they create the committee, but he didn’t want to do it unless there was a legitimate amount of money set aside for capital projects.

Koel proposed a $200,000 budget and it was eventually whittled down to $100,000 before being approved.

“I was happy with $100,000,” he said, stating they can always pull more funding from other reserves if needed. “It should also be noted that the mandate is to follow the OCP, and in the OCP it talks about ‘new parks’ so I definitely see a role with this committee in developing new parks on existing town land, and in particular, Hoy Bay.”

Above all else, Koel said he just wants people who are enthusiastic about parks and recreation to put their name forward for the committee, and he’s hoping they will be able to get in a few meetings before the municipal election in October.


@NIGazette
editor@northislandgazette.com

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Contact the town office at 250-956-3111 for more information if you’re interested in volunteering to be a member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee.

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