The cost to enter the city’s aquatic centre and arenas will be going up this fall.
The general admission for adults and youth to the Nelson and District Community Complex will be nudging up on Sept. 6 by 26 cents for an adult (to $7.26) and by 13 cents for a youth admission (to $3.63).
The new fees apply to drop-in, single-use, punch pass and time-based memberships, as well as rental rates for aquatics centres and other facilities.
The reasons for the increase were to provide consistency, transparency and the ability to financial performance of the services to provide better value, said Joe Chirico, general manager of Community Services for the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK), in a statement.
“The new fees also reflect an increase of 3.7 per cent based on the March 2022 British Columbia Consumer Price Index (BCCPI),” he said.
If service levels remained the same, Chirico wrote in his report to the RDCK board of directors for its July meeting, fees should maintain the present balance between taxation and user fees.
“Having a solid foundation and understanding of how the fees are set should enable robust discussions with the community about the balance between user pay and social benefit (taxation),” he explained.
According to an RDCK Fees and Charges Report some rental fees were in an appropriate range, some were over and some were below what would be recommended by the policy.
However, it was found that pool rentals were significantly above.
“RDCK recreation services are funded through a combination of user fees and taxation, and recreation is subsidized by the community for everyone's benefit,” Chirico pointed out in a release on Thursday.
“This framework allows the RDCK to enable lifelong participation in recreation and reduce barriers to recreation for children and youth. Costs for our operations have increased with inflation and are reflected in the new fees and charges, but we are still able to deliver high-quality recreation services at great value for users.”
People are still receiving a “deal” at the aquatic centre, even at the higher rate, the report found. The average base cost of RDCK services was $14 per use, based on 2017 actual financial performance data. An updated figure has been delayed due to the pandemic restricting operations.
Setting the bar
The methodology for setting the pool rental rates is to first set the average cost per hour of the pool facility.
Normally, this would include a detailed examination of the costs of a typical operating year. As staff did not have a recent typical operating year to evaluate due to the pandemic, the average cost of providing the service in 2017 will be used, along with the cost of living calculation.
All other rental fees for arenas and rooms will be increased by 3.7 per cent.
“The rental fees for these facilities are either below the suggested fees and charges indicated fees or have a complex structure that requires more in-depth work to determine a new fee schedule,” Chirico wrote.
“The board identified in policy that rental of RDCK facilities has a lesser public benefit than general public use of RDCK-owned facilities. Generally, if a person wishes to use a facility for informal use and share it with other members of the public, then they are able to use it with a larger public subsidy.”
Source: RDCK July agenda
All fees are effective Sept. and are automatically applied in the RDCK's online registration system. To view the 2022 fees and charges and the policy, visit the “Policies and Procedures” page at www.rdck.ca/recreation.
The RDCK continues to provide the Leisure Access Pass.
This pass gives families and individuals with financial need the opportunity to access recreation facilities at a 50 per cent discount on admission fees.
To learn more visit: https://www.rdck.ca/EN/main/services/recreation/leisure-access-program.html.
Timothy Schafer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Nelson Daily