Business as usual at Trail rec facilities

Despite the double fees for non-Trail residents, Trisha Davidson describes the facility as, "more or less as busy."

It’s been business as usual at the Trail aquatic centre even though for the last three months, a number of users were subject to double the fees to swim or work out.

The fee hike came on the heels of neighbouring communities opting not to renew a recreational cost sharing agreement with the City of Trail.

“Anecdotally, the facility and programs appear to be more or less as busy,” said Trisha Davison, the city’s parks and recreation director.  “It won’t be for several months that we will be able to see the full impact of the decisions from the surrounding communities.”

Since Warfield council’s March 13 decision to follow the direction of the three-person Beaver Valley recreation committee and end further recreational cost sharing with Trail, citing a lack of information about facility usage, the city is facing a budgetary shortfall nearing $300,000.

Information about who is accessing Trail recreation facilities and where that person is from is detailed and not simple to pull, explained Davison.

“Quarterly financial reviews will provide some information but again this will not paint a full picture,” she said. “Until things settle down with the region and we have long periods of time where decisions are stable it will be difficult to provide that information.”

Instead of annual contributions to Trail for a regional service, all four communities opted to launch a reimbursement program for its residents.

Citizens in Area A, Fruitvale, Montrose and now Warfield pay twice the fees of a Trail resident at the city’s facilities, then wait for reimbursement from Beaver Valley Recreation and, now, the Village of Warfield.

So far,105 residents have registered for reimbursement and 124 passes and programs have been subsidized in the valley communities, said Mark Daines, manager of facilities and recreation for the regional district.

“From an internal perspective it is working well other than extra time to reconcile applications that come in,” explained Daines. “It was busy at first but now that we have the system worked out it seems to be running good.”

Cheques are cut weekly out of the recreation office in the Beaver Valley Arena, and now, to make the process easier for residents particularly in Montrose, registrations can be picked up and dropped off at the village hall.

“We were hearing that getting out to the arena was an inconvenience and people didn’t want to go that far,” Daines added. “So we made Montrose a drop off point.”

Since Friday, residents in Warfield have been subject to double the fees in Trail, but so far other than a few phone calls, only a couple of people have gone to the village seeking reimbursement, said Vince Morelli, Warfield’s chief administrative officer.

“We are working out the kinks as we go along,” said Morelli. “And will try to do it sooner than two weeks.”