Greater Vernon facility fees hiked

Fees and rental rates at Greater Vernon’s facilities could be on the rise.

Fees and rental rates at Greater Vernon’s facilities could be on the rise.

Greater Vernon Advisory Committee members approved a recommendation from Regional District of North Okanagan staff to hike the fees by slightly more than two per cent due to cost of living increases in wages and utilities.

“An inflationary increase of 2.37 per cent to the base rate for public admission and rentals by organization would offset some of the increased operational costs,” said Keith Pinkoski, parks planner for Greater Vernon Parks, Recreation and Culture.

That would mean slight increases to admission for public swimming and skating, as well as renting facilities such as the Wesbild Centre and Vernon Curling Club.

The fee hikes drew considerable debate from GVAC directors, including Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick, who asked for copies of all methodology on how planners came up with the rates.

“We need some reasoning on why we’re doing things and why costs are up, too,” said Garlick.

Vernon Mayor Rob Sawatzky made a friendly amendment, unanimously approved by the directors, to include input from facilities management and staff in future reports.

Originally, the report recommended increasing the fees from Sept. 1, 2012, to Aug. 31, 2013, so one full calendar year.

But Vernon councillor Bob Spiers pointed out that the fees in the report include the HST, which is being eliminated April 1, 2013.

“I don’t want these fees to remain in effect when the HST goes out,” said Spiers, who motioned changing the timeline from Sept. 1 to March 31, 2013.

“We can review the rates then,” said Spiers, hinting at a possible reduction in fees.

Spiers’ motion was unanimously supported.