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Council approves hike for rec fees

It will cost more to use Vernon’s recreational amenities but not as much as it should.

Council has approved a 2.6 per cent hike in fees for 2014/15 although a 5.61 per cent increase is actually needed to cover the cost of running the service.

“We look at how much a fee increase will impact participation,” said Doug Ross, recreation services director, adding that higher fees can lead to fewer people using the programs and that impacts the bottom line.

However, fees will not go up for everything.

Last year, the department lowered off-season arena rates and that led to expanded bookings.

As a result, dry floor rates will be lowered by 17 per cent this year for Kal Tire Place.

“It is hoped the reduction will enable ball hockey and lacrosse groups to book more dry floor time,” said Ross.

Rental fees for recreation programs in the Priest Valley and Dogwood gyms will be frozen for 2014/15.

“Costs to deliver programming has been increasing and it is believed that higher costs are having an impact on affordability and participation,” said Ross.

The inflation pressures facing the recreation department, include wages, which make up about 45 per cent of the cost of the service. Materials account for another 20 per cent of the budget.

“The increase in water and electricity rates increase our overall rates,” said Mayor Rob Sawatzky.

 

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