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Parks zero-based review

Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

Review highlights

Services included in the review:

  • Parks Operations
  • Urban Forestry
  • Water Management
  • Parks Planning and Development Services
  • Cemeteries
  • Natural Areas
  • Environmental & Educational Initiatives
  • Pathways
  • Integrated Pest management

Parks was the first business unit to undergo a zero-based review (ZBR) following the pilot project in Fleet Services. The Parks ZBR started at the end of 2012 as per direction from Council.

The consultant performing the Parks ZBR, PROS Consulting LLC, was retained through a competitive procurement process in February 2013.

The preliminary high-level report was presented to the Priorities and Finance Committee in June 2013 and recommendations for the in-depth phase was presented and approved by Council shortly thereafter. The areas that underwent further analysis include: Natural Areas, Pathways, Park Operations, and general organizational functionality.

The final report with recommendations for efficiency and effectiveness was presented to the Priorities and Finance Committee in September 2014 and approved by Council soon after. The result of the in-depth review is 22 recommendations that positively impact the effectiveness and efficiency of Parks’ services.

The recommended changes to Parks operations are anticipated to generate approximately $4 million in annual financial benefits (through a mix of productivity gains, cost savings and increased revenue generation) once fully implemented. Just as important are the benefits related to enhanced customer service, improved staff morale and environmental sustainability. Some of the recommendations include:

  • Expanding third party contracting in parks maintenance
  • Continue the development of a playfield strategy in conjunction with Recreation and increase the hourly rate of youth playfields rentals to recover 50% of maintenance costs
  • Improve implementation of consistent maintenance standards across Parks operations
  • Develop and implement a formal performance management system for staff
  • Increase productivity of 600+ seasonal staff via changes to some existing practices

Read the full PROS Consulting final report and administration’s response below:

Parks Zero-Based Review: Final Report and Administrator`s Report

This ZBR is now complete. Parks will continue the implementation of the recommendations in the 2015-2018 business plan and budget cycle. The Parks business unit director and Community and Neighbourhood Services general manager are responsible for providing a follow-up report to Council on the implementation of approved recommendations within a year of report approval.

About Parks

The City of Calgary Parks manages and maintains over 10,000 hectares of parkland and open space including community soccer fields, 150 off-leash areas, nearly 800 kilometres of pathways, and over 7,800 hectares of public park sites.

Parks are a freely accessible part of our neighbourhoods. They are an important connection to nature both for respite and enjoyment as well as a place of discovery and education for children. Parks also bring opportunities for physical activity within every community and help to keep citizens active, healthy and balanced.