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Here for our Community — Rob White

December 20, 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 Rob White, Recreation Attendant.

How long have you worked with the County?

I have been working for The County since August 2020. I was hired during the COVID-19 pandemic so my job has changed from when I started until now. 2022 has been my first year of fully experiencing the job since COVID-19 caused a lot of alterations to our duties.

Can you start by giving an overview of your job?

My role as a Recreation Attendant varies day to day and season to season.

In the summer we maintain The County’s many parks, which includes repairing picnic tables and playground equipment, cleaning park washrooms and much more.

In winter we work at both of our arenas, the Prince Edward Community Centre and the Wellington and District Community Centre. We maintain the ice with our ice resurfacers (many people may refer to them by their brand names, Zamboni or Olympia). We also do regular maintenance in our arenas’ community halls and we perform routine work such as cleaning, changing out lightbulbs or any other duties that need to be done.

We work closely with our arenas’ user groups to ensure that their ice times are organized and running smoothly.  For example, we have many public skating opportunities available. Check out our website for public skating schedules.  

Man holding hose to insert gas into an ice resurfacer
"I enjoy the closeness I have with my coworkers. It has been such a nice and easy transition and I felt totally welcome here since day one."

What do you like most about working for The County?

I enjoy the closeness I have with my coworkers. Prior to working for The County, I was employed at my family’s business, so I was nervous beginning a career in a big organization with new people. It has been such a nice and easy transition and I felt totally welcome here since day one. My coworkers help each other out and that makes me feel taken care of.

man driving ice resurfacer on a hockey rink
"Recreation staff wear many hats and are great at meeting the needs of both internal and external customers."

What do you enjoy most about The County?

I have lived in The County my entire life. I enjoy the small town feel and feeling safe in a community where I know a lot of the people. I like the quietness of country living and The County offers a peaceful and relaxing lifestyle for families to live here.

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

I would like everyone to know that The County’s Recreation Attendants are working in a diverse portfolio. Our work includes park maintenance, helping with set-up on public events such as weddings, community events, holiday celebrations, funerals and celebrations of life.

Recreation staff wear many hats and are great at meeting the needs of both internal and external customers. We are well trained and conduct ourselves in a professional manner that reflects well on our department and The County as a whole.

Read all of the Here for our Community series

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