At the June 13 Governance and Operations Committee meeting, Trail council passed the recreation fees bylaw that will see a three per cent increase for facility rentals, admissions and memberships for facilities, equipment rentals and the Trail Residency Program (TRP).
Given the ongoing increase in inflation, Director of Parks and Recreation Trisha Davison consulted with Rino Merlo, the city’s interim Chief Financial Officer, for a short term solution to weather the inflationary storm.
“It was a recommendation that we not go with two per cent this year, and that we look at a three per cent increase across the bylaw for the most part,” said Davison. “As many of you are aware, we are actively looking to recover recreation services and the hope is that come fall many of our services will look a lot more normal. And they are looking more normal today, they just aren’t quite back to the full level of service they were pre-pandemic.”
Reviewed annually, the recreation fees bylaw is adopted in September in line with the development of all fall programming. Fee increases are generally held to two per cent, even during the pandemic. However, over the past months, inflationary costs on goods and services have increased substantially.
Davison recommended that some fees not change, including the price of public skating due to a previous partnership with the Murphy Family Foundation. Also, the rental of equipment that doesn’t require staff labour (such as projectors, screens, podiums) a select few drop-in admissions, and the rental of the former library space, now the Victoria View Room, in the memorial centre.
In her report, Davison included comparisons which indicate a marginal rise in costs. The $6.80 drop-in rate for the Trail Aquatic and Leisure Centre (TALC) would have increased to $6.95 with a two per cent increase, and $7 at three per cent.
The TALC annual membership will go from $589.35 to $607 at three per cent, the minor hockey ice rental for prime time will see an increase from $84.90 to $87.45, and the Trail Memorial Centre room rental will go from $55.85 to $57.85.
The fee for the purchase of a TRP card, which allow non-residents to access recreational services at the reduced resident rates, will increase from $1,156 to $1,190.
Coun. Carol Dobie did not disagree with the recommendation but thought two per cent was sufficient. She expressed concern for seniors and many residents who can’t afford the current cost of living, pointing to a recent increase in visitors to the local food bank.
“I think the last attendance was up to 95 which was the largest attendance we’ve ever seen,” said Dobie.
Coun. Robert Cacchioni agreed with Dobie and its impact on potential low income users. He also cautioned the upcoming council about the costs the regional district incurred for recreation.
Council passed the motion with only Coun. Dobie against.