Tweaks proposed for Ridge recreation fees

Report recommends not changing ice and field rentals, however

Recreation fees could be raised in Maple Ridge next year, affecting everything from swim clubs, boot camps and wedding receptions.

But ice and field rentals, Maple Ridge Leisure Centre admissions and rental of community rooms won’t change next September, according to a parks and leisure services report to council on Tuesday.

Maple Ridge decided last week to end the joint leisure services deal it has with Pitt Meadows next year, so how rate changes for facilities in that city will be affected in not yet determined.

“These are the kinds of decisions that have yet to be made,” Maple Ridge Coun. Tyler Shymkiw

For the next year, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows will work out an administrative framework to operate facilities in both cities without disrupting user groups.

“But there are no inherent increases because of the split,” Shymkiw said.

Most councillors oppose the fee increases, he pointed out.

Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read said the costs for user groups will be determined over the following year’s transition period.

The goal is to minimize any impact on sports or cultural groups when the agreement ends.

Shymkiw is opposed to increasing user fees for recreation.

“We need to be really aggressively pushing universal access to recreation and sport in our community. It’s one of those things we see time and time again builds resilience in kids.”

Regardless, competitive swimmers can expect to pay about $10 more a year, though, once the renovations to the Maple Ridge indoor pool are complete.

Fees for picnic shelters and sports courts will also increase.

Danielle Pope, manager of business operations, said a review of rental rates is done annually. Rates are compared to other cities to see if they reflect the market.

After looking at single admission and membership fees at the Leisure Centre, staff found that they were in line with what is charged in the rest of Metro Vancouver.

However, rates charged to the Haney Seahorse and Haney Neptune swim clubs were found to be 23 per cent lower in Maple Ridge than the rest of Metro Vancouver.

As a result, staff recommend increasing rates by 30 cents per lane an hour for the competition pool and 27 cents per lane an hour at the teaching pool, working out to about another $10 a year for each swimmer.

Those new rates won’t kick in until the $6 million in renovations to the pools are complete.

They have yet to start because the project is still awaiting contractor bids.

In Pitt Meadows, a small increase is also recommended for single admission and membership charges to the Pitt Meadows Family Recreation Centre, working out to an average increase of less than 20 cents per visit.

Even with that increase, the rates will still be below what’s charged in the rest of Metro Vancouver.

Currently, a single adult admission is $5.02, while family admission is $9.38.

The increased charges also reflect the major renovation and expansion of the Pitt Meadows Family Recreation Centre in 2014.

The report also notes that several non-profit groups currently use the Heritage Hall in Pitt Meadows without paying anything, something which contradicts a recreation commission policy and gives unfair access to some people.

Parks and leisure services also wants more from businesses that rent out tennis courts or sport courts for boot camp classes. Those should jump by another $4.89 an hour.

Fees for use of park shelters and community kitchens will also increase if council gives four readings to the bylaw.

Fees for park shelters will jump by $14.25 to $84.25 a day.

Rental of community kitchens, such as Hammond Hall or Whonnock community centre, will increase for weddings and receptions, although the report doesn’t specify the amount.

 

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