[UPDATED July 15/13 to correct reference to “user rates”. Panorama is not raising its rates]
Over the last fiscal year, visits to the Panorama Recreation Centre in North Saanich numbered around 500,000.
Total visits over the next 18 to 24 months, says Ian Hennigar, senior manager, are estimated to grow to close to 600,000.
Hennigar was recently before the council of the District of North Saanich, presenting the Centre’s annual update. He showed figures that put use of the overall facility having grown significantly in the last four years. In the weight room alone, use went up 50 per cent in the same time frame.
Hennigar gave an overview of the Centre’s operation and its involvement in the Saanich Peninsula community.
Not only does Panorama Recreation have their own facilities, they offer a variety of programs — youth day camps to activities for seniors — in the community at satellite locations such as the Greenglade Community Centre. Those programs include a long-standing program of free swim lessons to area Grade 3 students (which is assisted by local Rotary clubs).
In all, he said Panorama runs events and activities in 22 locations on the Peninsula.
“Our plan is to increase (the youth visitation rate) by 50 per cent this year,” Hennigar said, outlining the Centre’s operations outlook.
That goal, he continued, will help address the ongoing youth obesity rates and health issues — not to mention an estimated seven hours per day of “screen time” or how long young people sit in front on a computer — being discussed on a national scale.
Hennigar added that Panorama is also working on its long-term goal of covering its operating costs half by user fees and half through taxation. Currently, he said the Centre receives around 48 per cent of its funding through user fees.
“We’re definitely on target,” he told council.
His update to council on June 24 included information on events, tournaments and other uses of the rec. centre.
Panorama currently employs 200 people — 85 per cent of which are part-time staff, such as lifeguards.
Mayor Alice Finall asked Hennigar about the Centre’s use of energy and its source. He replied that Panorama still obtains much of its heat through the district energy system that uses heat from waste water.