Town takes over Legacy Centre, creates new ‘Community Relations’ position

Boosting use of Legacy is a big part of it

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

The Town of Slave Lake has been doing some juggling of who does what and has come up with a brand new position. It’s called ‘Community Relations Manager,’ and Jill Shepherd has it.
Shepherd, as some of you may know, has been the town’s events programmer for the past four years. She had help, but bore overall responsibility for organizing such things as the Frost Fest, the Canada Day celebrations, the 50th anniversary of Slave Lake events, not to mention the Canada 150 stuff last year. Those are some of the big ones, but there were lots more. She also managed the front desk operations at the MRC.
In the meantime, a few things happened that led to a change in the way things were organized. One of the things was the town’s manager of rec facilities resigned. So since last fall that was added to Shepherd’s plate.
The other thing that happened is that the town took over the day-to-day operations of the Legacy Centre, and that’s where the new position comes in. Shepherd says her focus will be promoting the use of the space in the community, along with other town facilities.
“I’m working with the board,” she says. “Looking at fees and lease agreements. Working with user groups.”
On the promotion side, she says she’s developing a brochure that lays out what facilities the town has, what they can be used for and how much they cost.
As far as the Legacy Centre goes, Shepherd says she’s been looking at other towns’ facilities and how they manage them.
“I think the Legacy Centre has an identity crisis,” she says. “Is it a theatre? Is it a hall? We’re brainstorming.”
One thing’s for sure, the hall/theatre isn’t getting enough use and the board (and now the town) would like to change that. Mayor Tyler Warman has made that clear enough in his regular reports to council on the Legacy Centre, on whose board he also sits. By creating the new position with at least a partial focus on promotion of the facility, the hope is to increase awareness and use. The discussion about fees is part of that picture. Shepherd says there should be an announcement fairly soon about that.
But it’s not just about the Legacy Centre. Shepherd hopes that through her ‘community relations’ efforts, use of the field house can also be boosted. The recent installation of the dividing ‘curtain’ is a part of that effort. Two groups can rent it at the same time, where smaller (and presumably less expensive) spaces would make it more attractive.
For booking or other information on these spaces, call the MRC at 780-849-8028. If it’s a simple booking, the front desk staff there will be able to take care of it. If it’s a matter of negotiating on something new, you’ll probably end up talking to Shepherd. For example, she’s been talking lately to people involved in two distinct Junior hockey proposals. She says offers have been made, considered and responded to and she’s waiting to see what comes back.
Getting back to her interim responsibility for managing the town’s rec facilities, Shepherd says there will be an announcement on that position coming right up.
Originally from Duncan B.C., Shepherd earned a degree in tourism management with a major in recreation from Malaspina University.

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