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On your mark: Port Moody residents get exclusive 48-hour window to register for rec programs

Surrounding cities like Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Burnaby and New Westminster also give their residents a two-day head start.
Port Moody residents will get an exclusive 48-hour window, starting at 8 a.m. on May 14, to sign up for the city's summer recreation programs. A similar head start will be in place for fall programs.

Port Moody residents won’t have to gird for a battle royale when registration opens for coveted summer recreation programs next week.

That’s because they’re getting a two-day head start to sign up for programs like summer day camps, fencing, creative writing, Zumba and swimming lessons.

Beginning Tuesday, May 14, at 8 a.m., Port Moody residents will be able to sign up for programs which require advance registration while non-residents have to wait until 8 a.m. on Thursday, May 16. The head start doesn’t apply to drop-in programs, which remain first-come, first-served.

Port Moody council approved the pilot project to give the city’s residents priority access to its recreation programming last January. A similar advantage will apply for fall recreation programming and staff will report back on the effectiveness of the advance registrations at the end of the year to help determine if they should be implemented permanently.

Nearby communities like Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, New Westminster and Burnaby also provide an exclusive 48-hour window for residents to sign up for recreation programs in those cities.

Coun. Callan Morrison, who championed priority registration in a resolution he presented to council in July 2023, said because Port Moody residents are effectively locked out of programs elsewhere they need better odds to be able to stay close to home.

“It’s important we do what we can to ensure our residents can access our own pools.”

Nathan Taylor, Port Moody’s manager of recreation, said 70 per cent of the city’s recreation programs are fully booked and 48 per cent of the total registrations are from residents are from other communities. As well, more than half the people who end up on wait lists are local residents.

Taylor said swimming programs have been especially challenging because both the city’s pools are outdoors and the season is short.

Mayor Meghan Lahti said the goal of priority registration is to help more Port Moody residents enjoy the city’s recreation programs and facilities.

“We know that many of our recreation programs are in high demand,” she said in a news release.

“Recreational activities help our residents stay active, learn new things and make social connections.”

You can check out the available programs in Port Moody’s summer recreation guide. Registration can be done online or by calling 604-469-4556.