Two-tiered rec fees will stay for now

It doesn't look like the Greater Trail Aquatic and Leisure Centre will be getting rid of its two-tiered payment system any time soon.

It doesn’t look like the Greater Trail Aquatic and Leisure Centre will be getting rid of its two-tiered payment system any time soon, if a recently release 10-year recreation plan is any indication.

The Trail Parks and Recreation Master Plan, currently in draft form, recommends the city develop a regional approach to recreation that will ultimately do away with the Trail Resident Pass (TRP) Program but at this point this is just good reading material, according to Trisha Davison, Trail’s director of parks and recreation.

“We all agree, we’d love to see that two-tiered system be gone but recognize that unless there’s regional support for recreational services, then it’s virtually impossible if we expect service levels to remain as they are,” she explained.

“The only way it could be truly disbanded is if there is an understanding throughout our region as to how we can support recreational services for the betterment of the area and have people go back to a system where everybody is contributing into those facilities in a way that’s fair and equitable.”

Following the dissolution of regional funding for recreation in 2008, Rosslanders are required to pay double the drop-in fees to use Trail’s rec facilities or have the option of buying into the TRP, in which households are charged $1,000 to use facilities at the regular rate.

This is a result of separate recreational deals reached with other neighbouring communities but not Rossland.

“The last time we had discussions on that they had made an offer and we found that offer very unacceptable and basically said that if you’re prepared to come with a different position then we’ll be open to having further discussion on having some kind of a recreation agreement,” said Trail Mayor Dieter Bogs.

The report highlights the complexity of the service offered and acts as a reminder to residents and participating communities, which will be renegotiating their deals in the near future.

Davison admits that understanding the fee structure is half the battle and perhaps it’s time to further educate the public on why the current system exists and what options are out there to best suit their individual needs.

She estimates that there are about 10,000 resident cards in circulation and recalls the man power needed to process several thousand a year since it was introduced in 2009.

“Now what’s happened is because less people are coming through and learning about the program as they touch it, I think we now need to shift that and remind people why it exists, what they need, how we renew passes and a whole variety of things to keep it out there so it’s not something they just forget about entirely,” she said.

Along with the recommendation to disband the TRP, with a regional recreation deal, the master plan also outlines the need for a formal leisure pass that would be more affordable to those with financial barriers.

The public has until the end of today to provide feedback on the fee structure and several other points that fall under the recreation draft plan that can be viewed on the city’s website.

Once the final master plan is complete, the document will be submitted to council for consideration some time in November.

The master plan is an $80,000 capital project that was completed in a process that involved input and consultation with over 60 local community groups and stakeholders, a survey invitation to residents, and guidance from council and senior staff to develop a framework for decision making and priority setting.