CJ Blye isn’t a couch potato.
A self-proclaimed outdoors enthusiast, Blye moved from Edmonton to help determine the future of fun in Nelson as the city’s first recreation co-ordinator.
The role is right in Blye’s wheelhouse — she finished a Master’s in physical education and recreation at the University of Alberta a week prior to relocating to Nelson.
“So many things about the job posting were things I was passionate about and really excited about and had a history of doing,” said Blye. “Working with community groups, sports and recreation, being able to use some of my research background from getting a masters to look at best practices in different fields and different areas. Things like that I was really keen to do with my new career.”
Blye’s work will be pivotal to the direction of sports groups and facilities in Nelson.
Her duties include working with the city’s numerous non-profit sports bodies to determine their needs, finding a solution to the ongoing ice-allocation issue and assessing the way forward for a busy campus of buildings that include the Nelson and District Community Complex, the Nelson Curling Club and the Civic Centre.
The one-year position, which will be considered for renewal at the end of the term, was created by NDCC manager Marty Benson.
He saw the need for a person specifically tasked with taking a broad look at local recreation, and spent over six months working to get the position approved by the Recreation Commission and the Regional District of Central Kootenay.
Benson said Blye’s previous work on provincial park management and user’s environmental behaviours was key to her hiring.
“Her research background is something that really stood out,” said Benson, who added he saw value in having someone work in-house rather than going with a consultant.
“Knowing that it’s a position that does look at best practices when it comes to ice allocation, user groups and user agreements that we may have.
“So we’re really trying to find out what’s the best of what’s happening within the province and beyond in order to bring those ideas and concepts here to the Kootenays.”
Blye started work on Oct. 11, and her first month has been focused on developing relationships with user groups. Diplomacy is key to the job — Blye will be the RDCK’s main contact with groups who have historically acted independently that she hopes to bring together.
“I really want to be cognizant of relationship building versus just sort of saying, ‘Hey, we’re the community centre, you’re an organization, let’s work together … So really that’s what I’ve been trying to do. Get to know people and get to know how we can work together to best service the community.”
Part of that will involve leading a task force made up of those user groups, which the Rec Commission approved last week. Benson wants organizations such as the Nelson Minor Hockey Association to be heard by the municipal and regional governments.
Blye and Benson said they hope to have the first task force meeting in January.
“We want them to be part of the decisions as much as we can and be looking for that input from them,” said Benson.
“So I think in terms of what is that long-term vision for this complex, it’s going to continuously evolve and we’re looking at it not just for Nelson but also [for] what happens with other regional facilities and the impacts that they may have on each other in terms of those needs for our recreation facilities.”