The cost of renting pool time in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge is on the rise, and the Haney Neptunes Aquatic Club is asking Maple Ridge council why.
Antony Cowie, president of the summer swim club, said staff justify increases by using comparisons with the rental rates of pools in neighbouring municipalities.
He questioned whether staff is “comparing apples to apples.”
He said the Neptunes are the fourth largest summer swim club in B.C., but its facilities aren’t accommodating the team.
“We were not able to host the regional championships in our home pool last year,” said Cowie, noting the event had to be taken to Abbotsford’s outdoor Centennial Pool.
He said Paralympic silver medallist Nathan Stein is from Maple Ridge, but the national media reported him as being from Surrey, because that is where he is forced to train.
Neptunes water polo players cross the Golden Ears Bridge four times per week to train in Langley and Surrey pools.
The club will host a Canada Day water polo tournament next month, but Cowie told council “half of our water polo players won’t participate because we cannot have under-16 competition in the shallow pool.”
The new hourly rental fee for Hammond Pool and Harris Pool, beginning Jan. 1, 2014, will be $26.75 for youth/senior non-profit, $40.13 for adult non-profit, $66.88 for private and $70.54 for commercial.
Over two years, there has been a considerable increase. The youth non-profit rate was $19.16 in 2012, and the private rate was $55.47.
The fee for the indoor competition/teaching/leisure pools in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows is billed per lane, and is $9.88 for youth/senior non-profit, $14.82 for adult non-profit, $24.70 for private and $31.38 for commercial.
The rate was $5.31 per lane for youth/senior non-profit through 2012.
What neighbouring facilities were surveyed, and what are their rates, Cowie asked council.
He was told that Kelly Swift, general manager of community development, parks and recreation services, would answer his questions.
Since then, the club has been in discussions with the district, and had no further comment on the issue.
With the proposed increases in facility rental rates for 2014, the district expects to generate an additional $17,000 in admission revenue and $20,000 in rental income.