Penticton and South Okanagan
Recreation fees to remain the same
Oct 8, 2013 / 8:17 pm
After much discussion, Penticton City Council agreed Monday to continue with the current fees for recreation and the community centre in the city.
The decision was reached following an extensive report given by Chuck Loewen, general manager of recreation and faciiities, on the matter.
"What is in place is working beyond our wildest expectations," said Mayor Garry Litke. "So why would you want to tinker with that."
The issue of tier pricing systems has been ongoing for many years in BC, with purposes for implementing these systems including eliminating the inequity of tax contribution; encouraging outlying areas to contribute to new and improved faciliities and programs and developing pressure on outlying municipalities to contribute through users from those areas.
In Penticton, in 2007, the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen and the city established recreation priorities and the following year, staff produced a joint document.
Research continued through 2009 and a business case was presented in 2010. The RDOS was notified of a tier pricing model at that time and elected to reject financial support for the city's recreation program.
West Bench was the only exception to this decision and continues to provide the city with $20,000 in annual support.
At a council meeting in March of this year, Councillor John Vassilaki put forth a motion that council revisit the concept of two- tiered fees for 2014 and direct staff to prepare a cost benefit analysis report.
Subsequently from March to July, a demographic study was conducted, involving tracking patrons entering the community centre for paid activities.
A general breakdown of users was created and revenues addressed.
From that, it was determined the greatest risk for a two tier pricing system, would be all non rate payers discontinuing their use of faciliites due to a greater increase in price.
Based on the percentages provided, the highest level of risk would range from $135,423 to $180,829 in lost revenues.
Vassilaki said he was disappointed by the findings.
"I have been asking for this for six years, because I think the citizens of Penticton deserve better than what they are getting," he said. "I think they are paying for other citizens to come and use our facilities."
He believes the two tier system might scare a few people away with a higher rate but that that overall they will keep coming.
"There are no pools or arenas in these other places, we have them," he said. "My feeling, overall, is it's just too complicated for staff to handle asking for IDS and where people are from."
In addition to agreeing to continue with the current fees, the council directed staff to work with the RDOS in researching and developing a sub- regional funding model that supports recreation.
Read more Penticton / S. Okanagan News
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Town of Keremeos
School District 67 - Okanagan Skaha
School District 53 - Okanagan Similkameen
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