Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Council set to approve increases of ten percent on Recreation Fees for 2015

It may soon cost a little bit more to go for a swim, a skate or take part in other functions at Prince Rupert's recreation facilities, after Prince Rupert City Council put in motion a plan to increase the fess for Recreation options in the City by ten percent.

On Monday, Prince Rupert City Council gave first, second and third readings to the proposal, putting the  motion into the homestretch for approval at a Special Council Session scheduled for Wednesday.

The decision to move forward with the proposal came after a fair amount of discussion among Council members, with most in agreement that after four years of holding the line, the City needed to raise the fees in order to direct some money towards maintenance and other issues at the civic recreation facilities.

Council first heard a review from Corinne Bomben, the City's Financial Officer who provided the overview of the recommendation for the increases, her report to Council can be found as part of the  Monday Agenda Package starting from pages three to seventeen.

The full schedule of fee revisions can be reviewed from pages 8-15

As part of her presentation, Ms. Bomben also reminded Council that the increases had met with the approval of the newly created Recreation Commission.

The Mayor opened up the discussion on the topic, observing that the city's fees were comparatively lower than other communities of the Northwest, though he did suggest that there should be some attention paid to limiting the impact on Seniors and low income residents.

Suggesting however that the ten percent recommendation was something that would help the City significantly when it comes to the state of the Recreation facilities.

Councillor Mirau touched on how the City had not raised rates in over four years and that the recommendation was really a case of an overdue adjustment, he also stated that he trusted the recommendation from the Recreation Commission on the need for the increases at this time.

To perhaps provide for a larger review on the issue of affordability for residents, he called attention to the prospect of a study on the need to simplify the pricing structure at the Civic Centre, a study he would like to see pushed forward quickly.

Councillor Kinney had concerns when it comes to the cost for Seniors looking to see the City hold the line on those costs, while Councillor Cunningham as part of a fairly extensive review of the situation, reminded all that there are programs in place such as Right to Play and other avenues for those that may need assistance to pursue.

Councillor Thorkelson proved to be the only hold out on the prospect of increasing the fees, calling attention to the need to address Recreation Fees as part of the budget process, having some concerns when it comes to the piece meal approach to services that council was approaching with this move.

She also called attention to the impact that any increase might have on the poor, reminding Council that those residents were poorer today, than they were in 2010.

Councillor Niesh was in line with the others on the theme however, reviewing how the City needed to increase the fees, if only to keep the Recreation Centre operating.

Prior to the vote on the motion, Ms. Bomben pulled up the numbers in relation to how much money the City anticipated from the fee increases, with the amount of 75,000 dollars mentioned as the potential value for the revenue stream.

With that final bit of information in hand, Council voted on the motion giving it first, second and third reading, with only Councillor Thorkelson in opposition.

Council will have the opportunity to make it official during Wednesday's Special Session of Council. Should they give it final approval the new fees would go into effect as of January 1st.

The full discussion on the topic can be found from the City's Video archive starting at approximately the fourteen minute mark and carrying on to the thirty minute point.

A full review of Monday's City Council session can be found on our Timeline feature.

For more items from City Council see our archive page here.

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