City of Prince Rupert increasing recreation fees by 10 per cent

People making use of the City of Prince Rupert's recreation facilities can expect to pay a little more in the near future.

People making use of the City of Prince Rupert’s recreation facilities can expect to pay a little more in the near future.

At its Dec. 15 meeting, city council gave first three readings to a bylaw that would implement a 10 per cent across the board increase to user fees at the Earl Mah Aquatic Centre, the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre and the arena. It was a recommendation that came from the recreation commission and largely found support from council.

“This is an overdue adjustment to account for inflation, since it was last adjusted four years ago … it will help us fundamentally improve the level of service,” said Coun. Blair Mirau.

“If you look at the fee structure relative to Terrace or Kitimat, we are about 40 per cent lower … if you look at the rate of inflation, I don’t think we’re keeping up with that. The infrastructure is suffering, we have just been doing band-aid repairs to things to the point where it is becoming a serious problem,” said Coun. Barry Cunningham.

“We need to increase these fees in order to pay for it, otherwise people won’t have something to use … it will be closing the door and nobody can use it,” echoed Coun. Wade Niesh.

Although the increase would result in approximately $75,000 in revenue that could be spent on maintenance and improvements to the facilities, Coun. Joy Thorkelson voted in opposition to the fee increase.

“I think the better idea is to increase the number of people that are coming rather than raise the fees,” she said.

“I don’t think people are richer and I think the poorer are poorer than they were in 2010.”

As well as increasing the fees, the bylaw establishes a reserve fund for future infrastructure needs created using five per cent of recreation fees collected.