Marge Hughes with her two grandchildren Aubree and Rylan Dahlman enjoying open playtime in the new gymnasium at the District of Kent Community Recreation & Cultural Centre.

Recreation Centre explodes with activity

Almost 200 per cent increase in revenue January 2015 compared to January 2014

The Community Recreation & Cultural Centre (CRCC) is thriving following its recent renovations.

The 14,000 sq. ft. (1,300 sq. m) addition opened in October, 2014, followed by a grand opening in November. The addition includes a gymnasium, two multi-purpose rooms, a small kitchen and enhancements to the existing washrooms, change rooms and common area as well as the welcome / administration foyer.

The recreation facility, located at 6660 Pioneer Avenue in Agassiz, has seen enormous growth in program and drop-in attendance. There was a 198 per cent increase in registered program revenue in January 2015 compared to January 2014. There was an 89 per cent increase in drop-in sales and a 41 per cent increase in total facility usage. Total revenue increased 74 per cent for January 2015 over January 2014.

Registration for the 2015 Winter programs opened January 12. Within two days, several had either filled up or come close to capacity. Music Pups, a program for babies and young children that encourages musical development, filled up within two days and there was a wait list for a second session to operate. Little Kickers, which can now have an indoor session because of the new gym, was at near-capacity within days. In the arts programming, the Exploring Watercolour Painting course also saw high numbers within a couple days.

All that is good news to staff at the centre.

“It’s a dream come true,” says recreation programmer Kristen Patrice.

Patrice explains that, before the new facility opened, it was often a challenge to organize off-site activities. Having everything in-house ensures they can run programs without the issues of maintenance, access and equipment that were sometimes barriers to effective programming.

“It is especially rewarding to be able to program for and meet the needs of our youth, as that wasn’t always possible before the expansion,” remarks recreation supervisor Kimberly Goulet.

It bodes well for children as well, with more than 100 visits recorded so far in the After School Kids program since the start of the year.

“We have seen a 20 per cent increase in attendance for family-friendly activities over the past month,” says Goulet.

Thanks to the new gym, staff are able to offer programs such as After School Active Kids, family floor hockey, drop-in basketball, pickleball and more. Pickleball, popular amongst all ages but especially seniors, has grown so quickly, two more sessions have been added.

Activities traditionally held outdoors during the spring and summer have “exploded” in popularity, with attendance up month after month. Goulet reports that pass sales have increased in the past four months as users see financial benefits to the pass system over single drop-in fees.

The expanded meeting room space has been used for facilitating meetings, open houses, training sessions, birthday parties and more.

The January statistics were discussed at a recent District of Kent Council meeting. Coun. Sylvia Pranger said she hopes the CRCC can continue to organize programming for the younger families here.

“It’s nice to see the facilities are being used as much as they have,” said Pranger.

Coun. Susan Spaeti agreed, adding that her own children have participated in some of the programs and she liked seeing how the Agassiz instructors were able to share their own knowledge with local youth.

“It’s great to see the facility so well used, and across the generations as well,” remarked Mayor John Van Laerhoven.