Burnaby eyes prioritizing locals for rec program registration

Availability is limited to roughly 15% of normal due to COVID-19

Out-of-towners may have a harder time getting into Burnaby recreation programming, as the city seeks to prioritize residents of the city during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a report to council, city staff noted the pandemic has reduced capacity in parks and recreation programming to 10% to 20% of normal, reducing availability of the programming to local residents.

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Registry for the programs is currently a first-come-first-serve basis, but staff suggested the city give preferential treatment to those living in Burnaby.

“The City of Burnaby borders the cities of Vancouver, Port Moody, New Westminster, and Coquitlam. As a result, popular programs can and do fill very quickly when registration is based on a first-come-first-serve basis,” reads the staff report.

This is particularly true, with Burnaby being geographically relatively central within Metro Vancouver and right along Highway 1 and two SkyTrain lines, “all factors which ensure the demand for programs can and often does exceed the supply.”

Staff pointed to preschool-age swimming lessons as a particular example.

A priority registration for residents would involve offering an early registration for Burnaby residents several days prior to opening up registration beyond the city’s borders, according to the staff report.

“The goal of this policy is to provide residents who subsidize city services priority access to the programs they help fund,” staff wrote.

Staff recommended such a program be implemented by the beginning of September.

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dgodfrey@burnabynow.com

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