New fees for pool, halls and rooms

Fees may be on their way up for the pool and other recreation facility rentals.

Fees may be on their way up for the pool and other recreation facility rentals.

The Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows Parks and Leisure Services Commission is putting a new schedule of fees before both municipal councils for approval this week. It will introduce a new non-prime time rate.

According to the staff report, the schedule of fees has slipped below the market average. However, neither council endorsed the last fee proposal set before them by staff in May, instead directing them to confer with community groups and bring “alternative options that support our non-profit community organizations and foster the parks and leisure services community development model.”

After consulting with community groups, staff propose a non-prime time rate that will be a 50 per cent reduction of the regular rates. This will offer a financial break for those who choose to use the facilities at times when there is less demand.

For example, the prime time rate for the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre will be 3:30 to 8 p.m. on Monday to Friday from September to June. In July and August it will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Weekend prime time will be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. year-round.

The current rental of the pool for a youth non-profit group is $5.84 per hour, per lane. That rate will rise in each of the next three years, to $6.85 in year one, $7.61 in year two and finally $9.88 in the third year.

However, if it is rented at non-prime times, those prices will be $3.43, $3.80 and $4.94.

The 2013 market average is $9.70 per lane/hour, the report says.

There are similar schedules for halls, meetings rooms and multi-purpose rooms.

The report notes that the phased-in fees will give groups time to plan and prepare for the increases, and adds that the non-prime rate offers significant financial relief.

Staff remarked that one of the major pool users, the Haney Seahorses Swim Club, will actually see fees decrease in the first year under the new schedule.

Overall, however, admission revenue is forecast to rise by $15,000 per year under the proposed new rates.

Because the fees will be phased in over three years, the costs in Maple Ridge will be slightly lower than neighbouring communities by the time they are at the full rate, in 2016.

Some meeting rooms did not have an hourly rate for local non-profit organizations, but they will under the new policy. These multipurpose rooms will be rented at $2.96 per hour in 2014, rising to $11.83 by 2016. The non-prime time rate will be half that, and prime time is 5-9 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends.