At the most recent City Council meeting, Brad Anderson, Manager of Genesis Place, showed Council how, over COVID, Calgary residents have made their way to Airdrie to use Genesis Place.
“Coming out of the pandemic, we weren't exactly sure what recovery would look like. We're seeing facility use 20% higher today than at any other point in our history. So certainly, the recovery has occurred quite a bit faster in our facility than we probably predicted even just a few short months ago.”
When Phase 1 of Genesis place opened in 2004, there were approximately 50,000 residents living within the city. Airdrie is soon to reach 80,000 residents and some amenities, such as aquatics, have not expanded alongside that boom in population.
“Some further numbers to consider are, in 2006, we had approximately 8,100 individual program registrations. That number in 2019 was nearly 16,000. In fact, this year we're on track for about 17,000 program registrations.” says Anderson.
Over the years, according to Anderson, the administration has captured residency data regarding when patrons are signing up for services such as past sales, program registration, and drop-in fitness classes. This residency information helps to trend where the facility services draw from and ultimately track if utilization of Airdrie tax-supported facilities is overrepresented by non-residents.
Historically, this data has not presented any real concerns over an influx of users from outside Airdrie.
“In the years preceding the pandemic from 2017 through to 2019, our numbers were fairly static with less than 10% of overall facility use coming from outside of Airdrie or Rockyview County,” Anderson told Council.
Since Genesis Place reopened in fall 2021, things have changed. The percentage of Airdronians accessing Genesis Place programming has dropped below 70 per cent and the number of Calgarians has risen past 20 per cent.
Anderson brought forward the Community Service Advisory Board (CSAB) recommendation of implementing a priority registration system for recreation programming in favour of Airdrie and Rocky View County residents.
“This would allow Airdrie residents the first right of registration followed by staggering date where the remaining programming spots could be reserved by non-residents.”
It was proposed that a priority registration system be in place by fall 2022.
Airdrie City Council voted to endorse the recommendation.
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