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HomeNewsNorth Cariboo residents can expect to pay more for recreation.

North Cariboo residents can expect to pay more for recreation.

The North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee has voted in favour of increasing the fees people pay to use the facilities in Quesnel.

Recreation Manager Richard Gauthier went over the changes to the Recreation and Parks Fee Bylaw at Tuesday (May 19) night’s meeting…

“The fees for the provision of services proposed is for an increase of two percent per year across the board for all rates, fees, public admissions and rentals for a three year term.   The exception to this proposal is for an increase for a three year term for arena ice rentals for youth and adults at two percent in year one, five percent in year two and five percent in year three.”

Gauthier noted that the user groups were consulted and that the ice rental fees that Quesnel charges are still quite a bit lower than a lot of the communities its size.

2019/2020 Community Rate Comparisons (no GST)

Quesnel         Age         Williams Lake Age                Prince George Age                100 Mile Age
Adult     $5.24  19-64       $5.71            19-54                  $5.24          19-59              $4.75    19-54
Senior   $4.52   65-79       $4.38            55+                   $4.00           60                  $2.75      55+
Student $4.52  13-18        $4.38           13-18                  $4.25          13-18              $4.25    13-18
Youth    $3.33    5-12        $3.51            4-12                    $3.75            3-12              $4.00    6-12

Barb Bachmeier, the Cariboo Regional District Director for Area B, wanted to know why they needed to be consistent with other jurisdictions…

“I mean if our costs are what they are and the fee structure that we currently have covers those costs and whatever extra, why do we need to be keeping up with the Jones’ so to speak.   A lot of people right now are without work, they want to keep their kids entertained going forward.    I don’t know what the actual costs are to run those facilities, but if we can keep that down as far as user fees, then I see like a two percent across the board being acceptable for all facilities.”

City Councillor Mitch Vik, while agreeing that they shouldn’t necessarily be concerned with what other communities are doing, also noted that they have to budget properly…

“In terms of a five percent lift in terms of the rink rentals, I remember at a couple of our meetings with this same body that operating that arena is more than we thought.   So I am OK if we have to adjust to cover new costs that we’ve realized by operating that arenas, and if it’s 5 percent then it’s 5 percent, and that’s a principled reason to make that increase.   But for the sake of comparing us with other communities is not as principled in my view.”

Others also expressed concern about the five percent fee hike, but Mayor Bob Simpson noted that they really only had a few choices…

“In this rec function as the governing body, we have to have either a fee structure and/or tax structure that covers the costs, or we have to cut services.   So, if we’re not going to do it through fees then you move away from a user pay principle to an everybody pays principle whether you use or not.   You have to pick it up somewhere unless this group is willing to go into the rec budget and start looking at where we’re going to make cuts.”

In the end, they weren’t willing to do that and the Recreation and Parks Fee Bylaw passed unanimously.

The arena service fees will start August 1st and Arts and Rec Centre increase will kick in on September 1st, 2020.

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