A report calls on Saanich to expand opportunities for multicultural programs and activities in the face of changing demographics. (Black Press File)

Report calls on Saanich to expand multicultural programming at recreation facilities

Report also notes that Saanich could do more for sexual minorities.

A new report recommends the municipality expand opportunities for multicultural programs and activities.

The recommendation appears in the market analysis study, which the municipality had commissioned to “inform and guide” the municipality “in charting its recreation, wellness and health programs, activities, services and experiences over the next 10 years.”

The report considers the the recommendation to expand opportunities for multicultural programs and activities a “high priority,” appearing as the very first one.

RELATED: Report recommends ‘happy hour’ rates for Saanich recreation

“There is increasing awareness of the need to be more inclusive and welcoming for everyone including Indigenous, LGBTQ2+, those with disabilities, and new Canadians,” the report reads.

This appeal rests on demographic realities. Citing census data, the report notes that the volume and nature of Canadian immigration has changed.

“Canada’s annual rate of immigration has doubled since the [1980s], and the diversity of immigrants has increased as the countries of origin have shifted from European to more Asian countries of origin,” it reads. “[This] means that a higher proportion of immigrants do not speak English as their first language.”

RELATED: Report finds several recreation facilities in Saanich at their limit

Not surprisingly, about 45 per cent say they have “experienced a lot of difficulty” when moving to Greater Victoria, the report notes, in citing a 2016 survey from the Inter-Cultural Association. “The same survey noted that, in addition to settlement services, recreation helped the most in integration and settlement,” it reads, adding that the municipality is “positioned to help connect individuals and organizations and offer services that meet the needs of newcomers.”

This appeal to greater inclusiveness also extends to sexual minorities among other groups. The report notes that the municipality offers programming for LGBTQ2+ youth and has some universal/family change rooms.

“[But] more can be done to provide opportunities to other age groups,” it reads. “It is also worth considering updates to facility washrooms and change rooms, signage, policies, and marketing materials.”


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