Saanich residents will likely have to pay more to recreate.
Councillors meeting as committee of the whole last week approved higher recreation, parks and golf course fees.
Pending final approval, drop-in general Admissions for swimming, skating, use of the weight room, and drop-in sports at all four Saanich recreation will rise by two per cent (taxes included) — the same increase also applicable for facility rental fees.
Rates for ice, dry floor and field house rentals at Pearkes Recreation Centre will also rise by one, two and three per cent, depending on market value. For example, prime time ice rentals for minor hockey and figure skating will rise three per cent, while non-prime rentals will rise two per cent for the same category of users.
Most park fees will by rise by two per cent, the public heard. Park users can also expect a series of new fees around park use.
It will also cost more to golf at Cedar Hill Golf Course for owners of a full annual pass, whose cost will rise two per cent. This said, green fees for one-time users will remain change, with staff saying that they want to keep rates competitive.
Overall, the public heard from the Kelli-Ann Armstrong, Saanich’s senior manager for recreation services, that the higher rates will generate about an estimated $90,000 dollars in additional revenue compared to 2018 to help fund rising demands for new and expanded services, as well as rising operating costs.
“Balancing affordability with fiscal responsibility is a challenge facing of all municipal parks and recreation departments throughout the province,” said Armstrong, noting that Saanich has had a long history of subsidizing recreation.
Council approved the pending increases unanimously.
Mayor Fred Haynes said Saanich’s citizen survey found public support for higher user fees as a way to avoid higher tax rates. “This is an appropriate way to maintain services without impacting directly on taxes to residents and businesses because this is a user pay fee,” he said.
The increase will come into effect Sept. 1. pending final approval.