Port Moody residents will get a 48-hour head start registering for summer and fall recreation programs like swimming, day camps and skating.
The pilot program that was approved by council on Jan. 23 means residents will be able to begin registering for summer programs at 8 a.m. on May 14 - two days before general registration opens on May 16. A similar time frame advantage will also apply to registrations for fall programs.
The priority registration period doesn’t include drop-in programs.
“We know that many of our recreation programs are in high demand,” said Port Moody Mayor Meghan Lahti in a news release.
“Our goal with this pilot program is to help more Port Moody residents enjoy the benefits of our recreation programs and civic facilities.”
In a report presented to council, Nathan Taylor, the city’s manager of recreation, said 70 per cent of Port Moody’s recreation programs last year were fully booked and more than half the people put on wait lists were local residents.
He said giving priority to those that call Port Moody home should increase the likelihood they’ll be able to get into programs with high demand.
Taylor said the access problem is particularly acute with programs at the city’s two outdoor swimming pools as the season is short and neighbouring municipalities like Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Burnaby and New West have their own resident-first registration policies, making it tough for Port Moody residents to get into programs they offer.
Coun. Callan Morrison, who initiated the move to prioritize Port Moody residents for the city’s recreation programs, said it’s time to level the playing field.
“We’re surrounded,” he said. “It’s important we do what we can to ensure our residents can access our own pools.”
Staff will evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot project and report back to council by the end of the year to determine whether resident-first registration should be made permanent.