Posted On March 3, 2017 By In Regulars, Top Stories With 538 Views

Can We Talk with Sue Hodgson

Publisher Sue Hodgson Talks With Lorraine Brewster, Senior Manager of Panorama Recreation Centre

Your love of, and connection to, parks and recreation started at a young age as a playground leader. With 30 years of experience in the field, you still have such an affinity for it. As senior manager at Panorama Recreation you oversee the entire operations, programs, maintenance and administration of about 150 staff. What does a typical day look like for you and how do you make it all work?

When you believe in what you do and you have passion for your work, every day is fulfilling! Each work day looks different, from working with staff and community partners to provide recreation programs and services, planning and managing capital projects, and developing strategic opportunities for the delivery of recreation services. The goal is to keep Panorama moving forward as a leader in the field of recreation. And last but not least: exercising daily so I can lead a healthy lifestyle and be at the top of my game!

Panorama is a leader in our community with its many active lifestyle programs. As a member of the facility I can appreciate how the organization continues to grow and diversify. An example is the most recent addition, and focus on rehabilitation, with Tall Tree Integrated Health currently on site. What other priorities might we see in the coming year(s) with regards to the requirements of the facility and the diverse and changing needs of Saanich Peninsula residents?

Peninsula Recreation has a five-year strategic plan that outlines strategies and initiatives for recreation services. One of the priorities includes evaluating facility needs on the Saanich Peninsula to enhance and complement programs and services. As we grow, we continue to seek and develop partnerships to assist with the delivery of recreation programs.

Through the community engagement part of our strategic plan process, we heard offering food services at Panorama would benefit and complement our services. We continue to explore the feasibility of establishing food services at Panorama and to determine how we will incorporate this service for our patrons and user groups.

Leaders in recreation and public health are concerned about the increasing amounts of time people (especially children and youth) spend in sedentary digital pursuits, instead of active recreation and unstructured play. Panorama will continue to implement our Physical Literacy awareness plan to educate our community and provide programs to enhance recreation opportunities.

Panorama Recreation has a 25-year capital plan to address some of our infrastructure requirements for the future. To meet the recreation requirements of the community and to upgrade our existing facilities to make them more energy efficient, we continue to seek grant opportunities and provide a sustainable capital plan.

You have recently updated the refrigeration system for the ice in Arena B with CIMCO, an acclaimed industry leader in ice rink technologies that has installed over 5,000 ice surfaces worldwide, including 80% of the NHL facilities and 100% of the NBA facilities. What prompted this decision and what did it entail?

The refrigeration system was identified in our future capital plan to be replaced as the production of freon would cease in 2020. The system failed sooner than anticipated so we moved forward with the replacement of a more environmentally

friendly refrigeration.

Panorama received $500,000 from Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program to support the “Arena B Floor Replacement Project” which will go towards rehabilitating the floor system, rink boards and glass in Arena B. Can you expand on this project and the important role of safety in this?

The project will replace the refrigerant piping with a new HDPE refrigeration system which will last longer and is maintenance free. The arena will be moved north and east to provide adequate length and width to the player benches and the penalty and timekeepers boxes will be relocated to the spectator side. The new dasher board system will have higher performance features such as aluminum frame which will improve the safety by making the boards more flexible. Higher glass and safety shields are additional safety enhancements.

In April 2015, Panorama was awarded the grand prize of hosting an NHL Pre-Season Game, $100,000 to fund arena upgrades and the title of Kraft Hockeyville. There’s no question about it: sport brings communities together, and that is so often found at an arena. What has this exposure meant to the enhancement of Panorama?

The experience of Kraft Hockeyville was amazing! It all began when Jason Fletcher and his passion for the community submitted the application and his story about his experience as a volunteer. What a proud moment it was for Panorama to be the winner and the incredible out pouring of community support. We can’t truly measure the exposure we have had by winning but I believe it helps when we are seeking grant funding for Panorama to stand out as leader in the field of recreation.

The Peninsula Recreation Commission (appointed representatives from Central Saanich, North Saanich and Sidney) recently completed a five-year strategic plan where a number of specific priorities in health and wellness for our community have been outlined. What would you say is the commission’s mandate for a healthy community?

The Peninsula Recreation Commission objective is to provide recreation and leisure activities and facilities to the citizens of the participating municipalities regardless of age, gender, religion or economic status.

As you know, it’s our special Women to Watch issue, celebrating women in business and coinciding with International Women’s Day on March 8. If you were able to give some advice to women of all age groups, what would it be?

Be authentic and true to your own values; this takes courage and builds confidence. Don’t wait for opportunities, know what is important to you. Create the opportunities!



Your West Coast Culture. A magazine about the people and places that make the Saanich Peninsula the little piece of paradise we call home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *