Thursday, November 26, 2015

Recreation Director outlines report details and request for increased fees for Recreation Services

Council discussed recreation issues
on Monday evening, moving forward
with fee increases for 2016.
At Monday evening's City Council session, Willa Thorpe the City of Prince Rupert's Director of Recreation and Community Services provided Prince Rupert City Council with an extensive review of the plan ahead when it comes to the deliver of recreation services over the next five years.

From her introduction of the topic and review of he report, Council then engaged in a lively discussion of recreation issues, the topic taking up almost half of Monday's one hour council session.

Ms. Thorpe opened up the discussion by outlining a number of findings from a 2014 report into Recreation services, which provided her department with a number of items to bring to the attention of Council for further consideration.

Among the twin themes from her presentation was the need to amalgamate the current fee structure, a process which will see an increase in fees to use recreation facilities in the city by about a dollar for adults, while lowering the overall impact on seniors and reinforcing the option for parents in need to access programs available through the Recreation centre.

As well, the need for long term capital expenditure planning was explained, with the Recreation Department looking for the city to allocate five percent of fees towards a Reserve Fund for future capital work when it comes to ongoing maintenance or future expansion of the facilities.

Members of Council offered up a number of observations on the theme, with the majority finding the prospect of the amalgamated fees and increases an acceptable trade off,  in order to see the Recreation  facilities provide an increased contribution to the financing of the operations.

Through the discussion a number of council members noted that if recreation facility users don't pay a little more now, the possibility of having to cut hours, or programs would be something that the City would have to consider in the future.

And while Councillor Randhawa made some valid points as he outlined a number of concerns that he had when it came to impacts of any increases on youth in the community, he was the only one in attendance on Monday to vote against the motion to increase the fees over the next five years.

Many of the other Council members reminded him and those watching the proceedings at Council chambers, or at home, of the assistance programs for those in need that the City have to offer at the Recreation Centre.

Once Council delivers the final adoption of the bylaw, most likely at its next meeting of December 7th, the rate increase would then go into effect as of July 1st, 2016

The decision to move forward with the five percent increase in admissions and fees related revenue, marks the second time that council has increased fees in the last year.

Last November, City Council voted to increase fees and charges by 10 percent for 2015.

The full range of the twenty four minute discussion on the recreation plans can be reviewed below from this video provided to the City's You Tube channel.

More background on Monday's discussion can be found on our City Council Timeline feature.

The full report to Council is also available through the Agenda package from Monday's Council session, you can review those notes here from pages 104- 125.

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

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