Amherst is losing its recreation director.
Bill Schurman informed the town Monday that he will be resigning his position effective the end of the month.
“This was a gut-wrenching decision,” Schurman said in a news release June 3. “I’ve had a wonderful five years working in Amherst. I’ve met some wonderful people, worked with some wonderful people. I’ve had a great team around me and it’s been a blessing for me to be here. I love this job. I will always proudly where the ‘A’ wherever I go.”
Schurman, a native of Summerside, P.E.I., said the desire to be close to home motivated his decision to leave Amherst.
“I’m the type who needs to be around my work and I’m also a family man who needs to be with his family and my family is in Prince Edward Island. I’ve made the decision that I need to be home with them,” Schurman said. “I want to remove the guilt of being away from my family and I want to remove the guilt of not being at something I feel the recreation director should be at. I never want to be in the position where people ask where is the rec director? It’s for those reasons that I have reluctantly handed in my resignation.”
Mayor David Kogon said the town reluctantly accepted the resignation.
“As mayor, I am obviously very sad to hear Bill will be leaving us at the end of the month,” Kogon said in the release. “However, I understand and respect his need to make the life change at this time.
“Bill was an enormous asset to the Town of Amherst. Through him and his team in the Recreation Department, the spirit in town is at an all-time high. His energy is contagious, and he elevates the success of all who work for and with him.
“He will be missed, but I do wish Bill and his family all the best going forward. He should know he will always be a part of Amherst.”
CAO Greg Herrett echoed the mayor’s comments saying Schurman’s departure will be a big loss for the organization.
“His contributions to the ‘A” team are legendary,” Herrett said. “Personally, he has been a trusted colleague, adviser and friend. I will miss him.”
While Schurman had great input into many programs during his time in Amherst, from the award-winning no-ice-fee initiative, to the revitalization of the trail system to the implementation of the Active Transportation Plan to the creation of a popular dog park to several more, he is quick to credit his team for those accomplishments.
“I believe my greatest accomplishment was putting together a great team,” he said. “I believe the ‘A’ team is recognized as hard-working, dedicated group of people who deeply care for the community, and they are. None of those projects could have been accomplished without them.”
Schurman is also proud of the close ties the town, through his department, has created with public heath, community health boards, schools and local sports bodies.
“It’s been a win-win experience for all of us,” he said of those ties.
In addition, he’s proud of the #seewhyweloveit hashtag that he helped develop.
“There is a great deal in Amherst to love and I’m hopeful that through our work, people will see why we love it, why we love to live, work and play here.”
While Schurman may be departing, he says he will not be going into full-blown retirement.
“I will be looking for a project to keep me busy, one that will allow me to sleep in my own bed, mow my own lawn and do things at home that I’ve neglected over the years. More importantly, I will be spending more time with my parents, which I will cherish, and I’ll be able to spend time attending the activities with my two-year-old granddaughter, Ruby. I will be home with my family,” he said.
Herrett said arrangements will be put in place within the next few days for the temporary supervision and oversight of the services provided by the Recreation Department through the summer. The town will also consider a number of options before any permanent arrangements are put in place.
Schurman came to Amherst in 2014 from the University of Prince Edward Island, where he served as athletic director. He was also general manager of the four-ice rink in Moncton, now known as the Superior Propane Centre, and was GM of the Moncton Wildcats and chaired the Memorial Cup in 2006.
He was also the GM of the former Lewiston Maineiacs and was instrumental in the development of the Credit Union Place in Summerside.