Civic Centre manager becoming familiar with project - Oct. 16, 2013
Natalie Reid is the newly hired manager of the Garcelon Civic Center, still under construction in St. Stephen. The centre was originally scheduled to open in October.
The manager of the Garcelon Civic Center is still learning her way around the specifics of her new job, but there is one thing of which she is certain.
“I want the public to feel they are welcome; to enjoy the space,” said Natalie Reid.
Reid was hired by the town to manage and promote the $19.6-million facility, the opening date of which is still uncertain. Initially scheduled to open in October of 2013, the civic centre is still under construction.
St. Stephen Mayor John Quartermain said he hopes to have an update from Dora Construction this week on how things are progressing.
“We’re trying to accelerate things a bit,” said Quartermain. He said the town would definitely know more this week where the project stood as to an opening date.
Reid said she’s toured the site twice in the few weeks she’s been learning her new role, familiarizing herself with where things would be once the centre opens.
“I’m starting to get a picture from the first visit to the second time. I’m starting to see a little progress.”
Reid said she thinks the civic centre will be important for the town.
“I think, for me, I see two sides of it. The health and wellness and sport and recreation side, that’s important, to have opportunities for people to participate and be active.
“But as well, the potential for economic development and bringing people to the town for tournaments and events.”
Reid was questioned as to the size of the convention space and how large an event the centre could host, but wasn’t sure of the capacity of that space yet since nothing is finished she said. She did say however she was hopeful of the potential from spinoffs associated with the convention space.
The mayor later confirmed the civic centre’s dining space could host 250 people
Reid said she is becoming familiar with the project since coming on board Sept. 17.
“I’m becoming familiar with the project, getting connected with some key players that have been involved with the project to get a better understanding of what the goals and objectives are and looking at the operations aspect of the facility.”
She said there will be many elements to the facility’s operation.
“As I gather the information that I’m working through… to put a plan together and how we will operate.
“Right now I’m focusing on operations in terms of policies and procedures, staffing requirements, possible programs that can be offered, and looking at potential partnerships with different groups. Putting all the pieces together.”
Reid was asked how she will “sell” or promote the civic centre.
“Those are things yet to come,” she stated. “I’m focusing on operations, looking at the social marketing media, and marketing will come as I get through this initial phase.”
What does she like about the civic centre?
“I think it’s a new facility and we’ll have nice new equipment and facilities so I think that in itself will be a bit of a drawing card,” responded Reid.
“It’s nice that a variety of different activities are under one roof so, for potentially families, it could make things a little bit easier to transition from one activity to another.”
Reid said she sees the civic centre as a family-oriented facility. “I think there’s a lot of elements to the facility, so I think it will hopefully touch all ages in some way so there’s something for the young ... and old.”
Reid said when she referred to “new equipment” she said she meant “the pool and things like that.” When asked if the facility will feature a gym or fitness centre, Reid replied, “I believe so.”
The mayor confirmed later the civic centre will contain a gym, but said it was a touchy subject since the previous council had promised the civic centre wouldn’t impact any local businesses and there is already a gym and exercise facility in town.
Quartermain expressed his faith in Reid’s ability to do the job for which she was hired, saying he believed she is “more than capable” of doing the job of civic centre manager.
“I’m quite sure she is more than familiar with her tasks and role and the expectations of the future. I think she has a good grasp of this,” said the mayor.
Reid is a 1996 graduate of St. Stephen High School and earned a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Dalhousie University. In her spare time she said she likes to play basketball and soccer, and coach sports. She has just started a hobby in photography.
After graduation, Reid said she came back to St. Stephen where she worked for Chocolate Fest and Development St. Stephen for a year or so on community events and programs for children.
She worked as the recreation and parks coordinator in Nackawic until 2008, then went to New Maryland where she worked in the same capacity.
Reid is now living in Oak Bay. She said she’s happy to be home and excited to be a part of the civic centre project.
“I think it’s an exciting time for the community. There’s a lot of good people who have done a lot of great work to get the project to where it is.
“I’m just happy to be a part of that and to help continue to move things forward.”
Reid was asked what she thinks of when she looks at the work taking place at the civic centre.
“I think it looks great. There’s opportunities ahead for the community. It’s exciting. There’s lots of possibilities.”