Parks, recreation user fees to rise in 2016; last minute deep discounts

The entrance to the Cornwall city council chambers. (Newswatch Group/File)

CORNWALL – Using various recreation and park facilities in Cornwall is going to cost a little more over the next four years.

But people looking to use facilities spontaneously might end up with some big savings.

City council passed a dozen recommendations Monday night, which take effect in 2016, which have various increases for facilities within the corporation and varies by facility and program.

But a new policy will give people half-off regular rates for same day bookings of the ice and field house to a maximum of three bookings per person per year.

Staff believe it would bring in extra revenue to the city that it wouldn’t normally receive.

“This isn’t abnormal,” Coun. David Murphy stated about the rate subsidies suggesting this happens in other communities.

One of the big changes is bringing back a 20 per cent discount for children participating in the Learn to Swim Program at the Aquatic Center and the outdoor pools. The rate cut was eliminated in 2009 and bringing it back will mean a loss of $38,364 in revenue next year.

“The subsidy…is great,” Coun. Bernadette Clement said. Recreation Manager Christine Lefebvre says there’s an accessibility policy to make sure every child has access to learning to swim classes.

Clement asked if there were fewer people enrolling. Lefebvre says there was a decrease in outdoor enrollment but that’s been made up in indoor enrollment in swim programs.

It’s believed bringing back the discount would help save lives by having more children trained in a community next to a river.

Minor sports teams and school programs for non-prime time ice will still get a 40 per cent break on user fees and the 30 per cent non-prime time rates will continue.

There will also be a fixed 1.8 per cent inflationary increase for all fees in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Seniors will receive a bump-up to a 10 per cent discount on the drop-in rates at the Aquatic Center and outdoor pools (from five per cent) and students will have a five per cent subsidy at the Aquatic Center.

Coun. Carilyne Hebert questioned why the students didn’t receive the 10 per cent discount as well. Recreation Manager Lefebvre says seniors and people with disabilities were mostly day users at the facilities and the city “wanted to improve that active living component.”

Hebert also questioned what a “student” is considered. Lefebvre says post-secondary education is included.

The fees are based on cost recovery, according to a city report.

The city budgeted $386,561 this year to give these various so-called subsidies to various user groups.

Lefebvre says the committee believes the fees are “on target” and are comparable to other communities.

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