Recreation fees in Red Deer are going up as of Aug. 1.
City council voted in favour of raising recreation user fees by about 3% this year.
Greg Scott, the City’s recreation, parks and culture manager told council there have not been any significant increases in recreation user fees since 2003.
“We started looking at the fees in 2009 and we talked about the opportunity for the citizens of Red Deer and how this would affect them but we also had to look at financial sustainability and find the balance between them,” said Scott.
Family admissions will see the biggest increase in fees.
At the Michener Centre, families are currently able to get in for $9.60. As of Aug. 1 families will be paying $12.
At the G.H. Dawe Community Centre a family admission is $9.60. Starting in August, those rates will go up to $14.50.
And at the Collicutt Centre, families have been paying $16 to use the facility and as of Aug. 1 they will pay $20.
“It’s always tough when we have to increase things like this, but at the same time, I have a family of five and there’s not a lot we can do for under $20,” said Councillor Cindy Jefferies. “So I think that families get a good value for their dollar. And compared to other amenities in our community, this is a bargain.”
Child, youth, student, senior and adult rates will all see an increase beginning Aug. 1 as well.
The largest fee increases will be seen at the G.H. Dawe Community Centre. Adults have been paying $4.50 to use the amenities at the facility, but starting in August, they will pay $5.75.
As well, seniors have been paying $4.10 to use the Dawe Centre but will soon pay $5.25.
“The Dawe Centre has seen the biggest increases and that’s because it’s gone from a basic facility to a value added facility,” said Scott.
Meanwhile, Councillor Tara Veer said she would rather see increases to recreation fees follow the Consumer Price Index.
“I have reservations on the idea of playing catch up,” she said. “If we raise the prices too much and less people are using the facilities then we end up subsidizing the facilities through the tax base anyways and that’s something we don’t want to do.”
Councillor Larry Pimm said the decision was a tough one.
“This is a very difficult debate and we’re all trying to approach this honestly,” he said. “We’re trying to keep the tax rate down and keep our facilities available.”
City council voted in favour of increasing recreation user fees. They will review the fee hike in March.