New recreation fees mulled in South Glengarry

In this August 2017, file photo, South Glengarry Community Services GM Joanne Haley participates in a council meeting. Haley's department is proposing a number of increases to recreation fees in the township. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, FIle)

LANCASTER – It doesn’t look like ice fees at hockey rinks will change but South Glengarry administration is testing the water about adding or hiking fees for other recreational programs.

Community Services General Manager Joanne Haley shared a draft proposal to council Monday night. The law governing fees for recreation was last updated in 2012.

In 2012, increased ice fees were phased in over five years. The current rate for prime time ice in South Glengarry is $156.60 per hour and $116 for minor sports teams.

“Administration doesn’t see a big need to go out and start increasing fees because we are comparable with other (SD&G) municipalities,” Haley told council. “We feel that we are very competitive with our neighbours.”

But staff are proposing some new charges. Here are some of the ideas being floated:

  • A $5 per person public skating charge. (Staff feel this won’t go ahead because it would cost more to pay an employee to collect the fee than the money collected)
  • A $5 per person charge for shinny and stick-and-puck games during holiday seasons.
  • A school rate is $80 per hour. (Not currently in the bylaw)
  • A last-minute rental rate for ice time to fill vacant ice.
  • Council needs to look at programming rate of $15 per hour. Other SD&G municipalities are charging $24-25 per hour. South Glengarry is not recovering its costs at $15.
  • A possible non-profit rate for recreation instead of dealing with requests for refunds
  • Terminating the reciprocal agreement between the Upper Canada District School Board and the Char-Lan Recreation Center for the use of the soccer fields. UCDSB gets free space in the recreation center (for school testing) and South Glengarry uses the school soccer fields.
  • Proposed increases for field, court and park rentals.
  • Levelling the playing field for registration fees for Glengarry Soccer League (GSL). The rate is $5 per person in South Glengarry and $10 per person for North Glengarry. Staff are considering negotiating with the league or “forcing them” to pay a regular rental rate.

“I think have to appreciate and realize that recreation is a service that we provide as a municipality. Our costs are not going to be covered by user-pay. I want to be careful in not overcharging,” Deputy Mayor Frank Prevost said.

“We have to be careful in what we do with our numbers,” Prevost said.

“I feel that we should stay status quo (on ice times) at least for the next year and reevaluate,” said Coun. Trevor Bougie, who is part of the ice allocation committee.

Bougie also feels a school rate should be included in the bylaw and there should be negotiations with the Glengarry Soccer League (GSL).

Haley said she will speak with Coun. Lyle Warden and Coun. Bill McKenzie to get feedback on the proposed changes. They were not at Monday’s council meeting.

The ideas were floated by council first in order to not have a community “up in arms” when a bylaw came to council to be passed, Haley said. She noted the firestorm from user groups the last time the municipality changed rates.

A report will be coming to council with more comparisons of fees with other SD&G municipalities. A new fee bylaw would likely come sometime in January.

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