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Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows School District increasing facility rental fees

User groups and film productions to pay more
The Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows School District will be charging more for the use of their facilities. (The News files)

User groups and film productions will have to pay more for the use of school facilities in the district.

At the latest school board meeting the board approved an increase to the rental rates that will come into effect July 1.

Rates for non-profit organizations servicing primary school-aged children will increase by 3.3 per cent from 9.10 cents to 9.40 cents per square metre per hour, sq. metre/hr, which is based on cost recovery calculations for the year.

Licensed child-care operations running on school grounds will also be charged the full cost recovery of 9.40 cents per sq. metre/hr.

The rate for other non-profits including charities, clubs, societies, and associations will increase by 3.3 per cent to 9.40 cents sq. metre/hr, plus an additional 20 per cent, bringing the rate to 11.28 cents per sq. metre/hr.

Full cost recovery rental rates are calculated on what is budgeted for facilities operations and annual maintenance costs for regular hours of operations – from 6 to 4 p.m., 10 months a year – plus estimated deferred maintenance costs.

Rental rates are calculated based on either the full cost recovery per sq. metre per hour or market rates – depending on the user group. Market rental rates are determined by conducting a market analysis on an annual basis.

“Rental rates for not-for-profit preferred groups are always well debated at the board table,” noted school board chair Elaine Yamamoto.

“In the end, the board determined that the district cannot subsidize any group’s rental from our general operating funds,” she said.

Mike Savignano, president of the Ridge Meadows Soccer Club, noted that although the increases appear nominal, it affects his club greatly as they are a non-profit trying to keep costs as affordable as possible to their membership.

“With the global inflation driving costs of products and services higher over the last couple of years, the trickle down effect of all of these collective price increases can be staggering to local consumers,” said Savignano.

He noted that although this increase may be small, there was a big jump in costs just a few years ago and it wasn’t that long ago that the cost of renting a school gym was only a few dollars. And, Savignano elaborated, the availability of gym space this past year has decreased dramatically compared to prior years. He said their club has struggled to provide indoor programming.

“We’ve sadly had to turn players away for this reason after exploring alternatives for space and coming up empty,” he said.

“As a community based non profit, we rely heavily on the support of government agencies to help us keep the cost of providing quality programming for youth sports affordable,” noted Savignano, adding that the benefits of keeping children involved in sports and recreational activities are massive, from physical well being to mental health to social connectedness and beyond.

He is hopeful that continued dialogue and collaboration with the school district, government agencies, and other user groups, will result in children being able to play and enjoy activities of their choice.

Yamamoto explained that annual rental rate adjustments are determined through market analysis to make sure that the rental rates they charge remain competitive and she noted that the school district had to put facility rentals on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have only recently begun to return to full rental operations, she said.

In July to rent out a large gym, 750 sq. metres, will cost a preferred not-for-profit $70.50 per hour and a small gym, 375 sq. metres, $35.35. For other non-profit organizations, the cost will be $84.60 per hour for a large gym and $42.30 for a small gym.

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For a commercial individual/group who either operate a business or for-profit activity, the rate for a large gym will be $163.39 per hour and $91.95 for a small gym. And for a private individual or group that is neither a commercial entity nor a not-for-profit, the rates will be $130.71 per hour for a big gym and $73.56 for a small one.

The school district also rents out regular and large-sized classrooms, multi-purpose rooms, and libraries.

Yamamoto also noted that not-for-profits, not-for-profit preferred groups, and licensed child cares’ rental rates cover only the costs associated with these rentals.

“The school district does not realize a profit from these rentals,” she elaborated.

Rental rates for filming are also increasing. Prep day will be increasing from $1,150 per day to $1,300. For a day of filming within a school, the rate will be increasing from $2,300 per day to $2,500. For a full day of filming on the outside of a building, the rate will remain at $1,700. And parking will be increasing from $425 to $475.

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Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
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