Adorned in his gifted, neon-green Delta Pickleball Association (DPA) T-shirt, Delta’s director of parks, recreation and culture Ken Kuntz said goodbye to members who hosted an event celebrating his retirement.
On the Memorial Park pickleball courts Thursday, July 22, around 40 members of the DPA gave a sincere thank-you to the director who, they say, helped them build their sport to now more than 500 members.
“It’s so often that in public service, you do this day after day with the hopes that the community really appreciates it, and the appreciation I received today is unbelievable,” said Kuntz.
Having worked with the City of Delta for more than 20 years, Kuntz – who will be retiring at the end of this week – said he is proudest being part of supporting local sports and recreation, as well as preserving some of the rich history within Delta.
“We’re not the experts, we just facilitate things happening. And seeing the Pickleball Association being able to design their own facilities and figure out what works best or doesn’t work – I think that’s one of the prouder things that we’ve done,” he added, reflecting on some of his projects during his time with the City of Delta.
Mayor George Harvie has worked with Kuntz since the early 2000s, and recruited him as the director of parks, recreation and culture when he was city manager.
“There was no doubt in my mind that he was the best person for the job,” said Harvie.
“What really impressed me about Ken is his honesty, his dedication and his commitment to Delta. We’re a better place in Delta now because of Ken … We’re going to miss him, and I’m going to miss him personally.”
Harvie adds Kuntz has left the department in great shape, and that they are still in the recruiting process of looking for a future director through a previously-used external consultant.
In addition to the bright T-shirt, the DPA also gifted Kuntz a custom-created pickleball paddle, which he held proudly during his thank-you speech.Kuntz will be moving to Vancouver Island with his wife soon, where he has renovations and other volunteering planned for his future.