The Beaver Valley recreation committee has decided to end an agreement with Trail by year end, meaning 2,850 registered cardholders in those areas will be paying more to use the city’s facilities effective Jan. 1.
The Beaver Valley Recreation, Parks and Trails Committee (BVPARTS) informed the city that it will not be renewing, renegotiating or extending its Recreation Services Agreement with Trail, according to the city’s press release on Friday.
As a result, all residents of Montrose, Fruitvale and Electoral Area A will be subject to higher rates under the Trail Resident Program (TRP) for facilities covered by the agreement including the Trail Aquatic and Leisure Centre, leisure programming, the Willi Krause Field House and Haley Park.
“First of all the city has never even contacted us about renewal,” said Fruitvale Mayor Patricia Cecchini. “You can’t just assume we are going to give you a cheque without talking to us first.”
Additionally, the committee has asked the city to release details on how many valley residents access the city’s facilities, but those numbers haven’t been forthcoming, said Cecchini.
User information can be tracked through membership and registration in programs, but drop-in rates to the facilities cannot, explained Trisha Davison, the city’s director of parks and recreation. According to Davison’s statistics for aquatic centre usage, Fruitvale (combined with Area A) currently has 417 registered members and 167 in Montrose.
“We can’t track drop-in usage when someone is just paying a $6 admission to use the facility,” said Davison. “Identification from a TRP card or, for example, a driver’s license has to be produced but it isn’t connected to an account so we don’t keep track.”
For the other almost 7,000 users registered between Trail and Warfield, the end of the agreement will probably mean an increase in membership because without B.V.’s contribution, the city will experience an immediate loss in revenue of $209,350.
“We are now working on reorganizing our administrative processes for all Beaver Valley residents,” says Davison.
“There may be possible processing delays for any residents who have requested recreation services starting in the new year. We will also be cancelling all B.V. resident TRP cards effective January 1st, 2014. We weren’t anticipating this and considerable resources will now be required to implement the change.”
Since the five-year agreement commenced in 2009, following the collapse of the Regional Recreation Service when all Greater Trail communities contributed to recreation and culture as part of the regional service, the Beaver Valley communities have contributed $200,000 per year with a yearly increase based on the BC Consumer Price Index.
“Beaver Valley was the first community to strike a recreation agreement with the City of Trail five years ago,” said Ali Grieve, Area A director and chair of BVPARTS.
“The BV Rec Committee when considering renewal repeatedly asked the city for stats on how many B.V. residents were accessing city facilities and programming,” she continued. “The city said they could not do this and we thought it a very fair and basic question, ‘How many B.V. residents are taking advantage of this agreement?’” added Grieve.
According to the committee’s newsletter posted on the regional district website, an administration process is currently under development to offset many of the costs for users in the Beaver Valley communities.
The recreation committee will hold a public forum early in the new year to seek direction and input from Beaver Valley residents on what they want for recreation opportunities, said Grieve. “We will develop our own program to help families offset some additional costs incurred.”
David Perehudoff, Trail’s chief administrative officer, countered that Trail has always tried to be transparent with respect to the agreement and the benefits Beaver Valley residents receive.
“Clearly with 30 per cent of the TRP cards issued, the city’s facilities and services are being well used by B.V.,” said Perehudoff. “This as evidenced by the number of TRP cards we issued,” he explained, adding, “With Beaver Valley paying 6.16 per cent of the city’s gross operating costs not including capital in 2013.”