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Esquimalt recreation fees could increase next year

Mayor worried about small rate hike’s impact on young users
Esquimalt is looking at an increase to recreation fees. (Esquimalt Parks and Recreation/Facebook)

Recreation fees are likely to increase at Esquimalt facilities next January.

Council on July 11 approved minor increases to admission fees and memberships and a two per cent hike in rental fees. The amended rates will still need adoption at a later meeting.

Staff noticed late last year that the recreation fees and charges hadn’t been updated “for an extended period of time.”

“Given the current financial impact of the pandemic, large increases in admission and passes may be prohibitive and reduce access opportunities for residents,” a staff report said. “Minor increases to current admissions, pass rates and rental fees will continue to make recreation accessible to our community members and encourage them in a healthy lifestyle.”

Staff said Esquimalt rates are consistently on the lower end when it comes to the average fees across the Capital Regional District.

The township only makes money off of the adult category, those aged 19 to 59. Esquimalt recovers 125 per cent of the fees paid by adult users.

That impact on the age group’s youngest users didn’t sit well with Mayor Barb Desjardins. She took issue with the youngest adults having their fees bumped up – from the 13 to 18-year-old youth rate – even though they’re making minimum or low wages while also having to pay for post-secondary education.

“They’re coming out of school, they’ve been playing sports there and now we’re asking them to foot the bill fully at a time when we need young people to continue to hold on to something that’s good for them,” Desjardins said. “And that is their sport activity.”

Esquimalt’s age groups align with CRD communities, staff said. The mayor said she’d like to see a regional review of who falls into the adult category.

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Jake Romphf

About the Author: Jake Romphf

In early 2021, I made the move from the Great Lakes to Greater Victoria with the aim of experiencing more of the country I report on.
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