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Here for our Community — Cody Lowe

July 26, 2022
Here for our community: Matt Reid Every day hundreds of people work behind the scenes to keep Prince Edward County running. We are profiling a few of the people that are ‘here for our community.’   We continue the series by talking with Matt Reid, Foreman of Recreation and Community Facilities   Can you start by giving an overview of your job?   There really isn’t a set day. It could be anything. On any given day there could be something in the parks that needs taking care of, it could be that something breaks and we need to fix it. We keep busy and it stays interesting. On a typical day in the winter, we’re working with ice users and making sure the arenas run. I lend a hand at the Picton arena when they need it but I’m mostly based out of Wellington.   In the spring we take the ice out of the arena. It’s pretty straightforward: we shave the ice down with the ice resurfacer and then we’ve got to put hot water on to remove the vinyl logos. Then we continue shaving it down. When we get down to the paint, we turn the ice plant off to break the seal between the ice and the floor. Then we bring in a tractor with a bucket and start taking the ice out in chunks. It takes anywhere between 4-5 days with a crew of 2-3 staff.   In the summer, there’s more ground to cover. We’re focused on the parks and washrooms and all of that fun stuff. There are 23 parks that we look after, so we’re all over the County, and our team grows with summer students and summer staff. The team that is responsible for the public washrooms are fantastic. I’ve done that shift a couple of times and it’s fantastic that they are able to keep up with it.   How long have you worked with the County? I started in 2008 as an arena attendant. It was a good job opportunity at the time and it stuck with me. I have been in the Foreman role for just over a year now. What do you like most about the job and working for the County? The thing I like most about my job is the staff I work with. It’s a good group and it makes it easy to come to work. There are 12 people on the arena team; that’s between both facilities in Wellington and Picton. I don’t know the right word to describe the team. It’s just that everyone gets along so well. Everybody’s easy going, and it makes it a lot easier to come to work everyday knowing that we get to do our job and have a good time doing it together. I was a little uncomfortable about this interview, because it’s a team effort here. Nobody could make this work without everyone else. I didn’t want this to focus on me, because it really is a team. How has COVID-19 impacted your work? It has made things a little more challenging, but everyone has done a good job with getting the protocols sorted out. We have appreciated everyone’s patience and understanding as we worked through the challenges of the pandemic. The screening, showing proof of vaccination and ID, the guidelines we have to follow and the delays on repairs due to shortages, contractor availability and shipping delays… it’s made things a little more challenging. The public has been really good, more than willing to follow the rules and be patient and understanding. Having the facility empty during lockdowns has been a little bit of a blessing because when we’re closed we get the time to do the really tedious and long jobs that we don’t get a chance to do when we have a full day of ice users and the public coming in and out. There’s been a lot of painting, buffing floors and things like that. We haven’t been sitting waiting for the doors to open. We’ve been doing a lot of things we can’t do with the public coming through the door. What do you enjoy most about the County? I grew up in the County. I like that this is where my family’s from, where my wife’s family is from. Everyone we know is here. It really feels like a community when you grew up here and know everyone. It is easier at work because I see a lot of ice users who either know me or know my family.      

Here for our Community….

Every day hundreds of people work behind the scenes to keep Prince Edward County running. We are profiling a few of the people that are ‘here for our community.’ We continue the series by talking with Cody Lowe, Environmental Technician.

How long have you worked with the County?

I started working for The County in April 2022.

Can you start by giving an overview of your job?

I am responsible for looking after all trees that are on County property.

My job includes building and maintaining our tree inventory, responding to public inquiries, accessing hazardous trees, and then coordinating with other County staff or contractors on tree removal depending upon the situation.

I am also responsible for organizing tree planting events and naturalization projects within the community and working with community volunteers to make these events happen. I will be managing the Adopt-A-Tree program starting this Fall.

man in orange measuring a tree trunk
"I love the small-town feel of The County. Growing up here, there was always a really good sense of community, and now, even as The County is getting bigger, that small-town feel is still present. "

What do you like most about working for The County?

The people.

The people I work with in my department are great and have been really good to me. They’ve all been really helpful, which has allowed me to have a smooth transition starting in my position.

I enjoy being outdoors, working to improve the quality and quantity of trees in the community, and meeting lots of people, whether it’s contractors or residents. I also enjoy being able to talk about trees all day!

man in orange shirt standing in front of tree
"Our staff really do care about trees and we are working towards having a sustainable forest management system in the community moving forward."

How has COVID-19 impacted your work?

COVID-19 hasn’t really impacted me in this role as I started in April 2022, right when the province was loosening its masking mandate and other COVID-19 restrictions; however, there have been some minor adjustments I have had to make in this position due to COVID-19.

For example, some meetings that would usually happen in-person are happening virtually via Zoom. My interview for this position was virtual, so that was different for me as I am used to, and like having, face-to-face contact with others.

I have been fortunate enough that a lot of my duties are “back to normal” at this time. A lot of what I do takes place outside, so all the indoor rules and regulations that were in place over the past year didn’t really affect me. My coworkers and I could still meet in-person outdoors for on-site meetings if we had to get together to discuss anything. We could easily physically distance.

What do you like most about living in The County?

I currently do not live in The County; however, I was raised in The County and my parents still live in the community, so I am here a lot, even when I am not working.

I love the small-town feel of The County. Growing up here, there was always a really good sense of community, and now, even as The County is getting bigger, that small-town feel is still present. I like that everyone seems to know one another.

 

How are you involved with the community outside of work?

I come to The County when I am not working to visit my parents. We all participate in the annual Trash Bash and I do some volunteering in the community in my spare time.

 

If there is one thing you want the public to know about the work that you and your colleagues do, what is it?

I want the public to know that The County does value its trees and the Environmental Services department is working hard at increasing The County’s tree canopy. Our staff really do care about trees and we are working towards having a sustainable forest management system in the community moving forward.

I also want people to know that there are lots of ways they can take part in supporting the trees in The County. Volunteers would be greatly appreciated for some of our upcoming tree planting programs or as part of our Adopt-A-Tree program ramping up this Fall. More information will be posted on our website and in PSAs as Fall approaches.

 

Read all of the Here for our Community series

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