After politics entered the arena and gave a one-two punch to recreation in the City of Trail, it’s the parents of young ballplayers left feeling the sting this baseball season.
Compared to minor hockey expenses that range from $150 to $500, minor baseball fees in Trail have traditionally been much less costly, falling between $40 and $100 depending upon the age of the child.
With the collapse of cost sharing recreation agreements and Trail Residency Program (TRP) cards no longer in play between Trail and surrounding communities this year, Warfield parents now have to purchase a sports pass at a cost of $204 per child on top of registration fees.
Meaning, before a five-year old from Warfield can take a crack at a ball at Andy Bilesky Park, the parent has to cough up $244 and wait for reimbursement from the village.
Other minor sports will see a similar impact depending on where you live and what facilities are available in the respective community.
For example, Warfield minor hockey players are subject to a $373 fee on top of registration costs, while soccer players will pay an additional $204.
To date, there have been a few submissions for reimbursement on baseball sports passes, according to Vince Morelli, Warfield’s chief administrative officer.
Morelli confirmed that sports passes will be reimbursed fully and there is no limit per family once proof of registration within an organized league is submitted to the village hall.
Further up the hill, parents in Rossland have been on the hook to pay for sports passes since 2009 when the regional recreation service was taken over by the City of Trail, and that city chose to opt out of cost sharing. For the past five seasons, Trail Little League volunteer organizers have grouped Rossland ballplayers onto one roster, and forwarded the list to Rossland council to make a decision on reimbursement.
Downloading the responsibility and time commitment onto a sports organization makes it difficult to encourage participation in recreation when facilities are only available or primarily used in one community, said Wallace, one of 15 volunteer Little League executives.
This season, the league is pushing to comply with the TRP to keep ahead of the curve he said.
“Because to date, the City of Trail has not been enforcing compliance by user groups,” Wallace added. “The real mess will unfold this fall once the city updates its recreation bylaw and starts clamping down on all facility users (beer league hockey etc.) that have to date been using Trail rec facilities without paying extra for TRP.”
Members of council reviewed Trail’s recreation fees and charges bylaw (TRP) after the city’s parks and recreation director presented a background and analysis of the dual rate fee system at the April 14 governance meeting.
Sports pass fees were developed based on operating costs and have been a constant source of confusion since the inception of the TRP, explained Trisha Davison.
“But at present, changes would take considerable time and effort to implement.”
Non residents will continue to pay double the fees to access programs in both aquatics and general recreation, and council agreed it will be up to the user groups in Trail’s recreational facilities to ensure their rosters have all the right information, such as proof of residence, or be subject to a higher rate.
The news is disappointing to Wallace, who was born and raised in Trail and moved back to the city with his wife so their kids could have the same opportunities they both did growing up.
“If I was making the same decision to move here today, I’d have to think twice before adding recreation to the list.”