See also Site Map
In 2005, the City spent $181,440 of our taxes (counting benefits) for between 6 and 14 part-time recreation staff for our “community centre without walls.” This number covered the park for seven days a week during the busy times, less at other times.
We tried a new approach to the park food. We put up signs: “if you don’t like these prices, pay what you want. If you want to do some park cleanup for food (especially kids) that’s fine, you can eat with no money.” The food became a medium of exchange for park help – and people who did a lot for the park in summer sometimes found that their money was not accepted even in winter, when they came to the zamboni café.
We treated the food money that came in as a pooling of neighborhood resources, and used it to augment programs, buy groceries, fix broken things. We kept every receipt for what was spent, so we know that we spent another $147,739.17 for the park last year.
The "lab result":
Our neighborhood experiment, in total, cost $329,000. But only 55% of that came from our taxes. The other 45% came from people eating good food at the park. For that we got a rich tapestry of community life that would be hard to find in city buildings that cost three times as much to operate. There's a new general manager for Parks and Rec, Brenda Librecz. She twice came to the park and asked to be shown around. We asked her to assign this park a budget of $200,000, and designate the park as a lab for trying things that might work in other neighbourhoods too. But Ms.Librecz is fantastically busy restructuring her vast department, and although she was friendly, there was no follow-up.