A new report predicts that children will make up a growing share of the regional population. At the same time, their parents will likely find it increasingly difficult to find the time and funds to participate in recreation. Black Press File.

Vancouver Island community looking at ‘happy hour’ and ‘prime time’ recreation rates

Saanich report recommends paying more or less depending on when you use programs and facilities

Residents of Vancouver Island’s largest commnuity could be paying different rates depending on the time of the day to use local recreation facilities.

The final draft of Saanich’s market analysis study recommends among other proposals higher fees and charges for what the report calls ‘prime time hours’ at local recreation facilities.

“Pricing models can either raise rates during peak times or decrease rates during off- peak hours,” it reads. “Pricing concepts from other sectors include things like happy hours, two-for-one deals, or group pricing.”

This recommendation is not without precedent in current practice. The report notes that Saanich already adjusts fees and charges to manage demand for ice.

“Pricing tiers can also be more complex than just prime vs. non-prime time with the inclusion of a super-prime time slots and laddered pricing based on the use by for-profit or non-profit entities,” it reads later.

RELATED: Report finds several recreation facilities in Saanich at their limit

The report, however, warns of changes that could disadvantage groups. “When considering rate changes, accommodations need to be made to keep access fair and affordable,” it reads.

The recommendation appears among several in a report that appears rich in details but also warnings about the long-term affordability of recreation.

The report calls affordability a concern for everybody, but especially for some groups. They include young adults, as well as older adults (read: seniors) and families with single parents or two parents working. For this group,

The report describes older adults as “particularly vulnerable” because they “are more likely be living on a low income,” with the report predicting that the number of people in this demographic category will only rise in the future. Saanich’s population of 43.5 years is already, albeit slightly, older than the provincial average of 42.3 years, it notes.

“Populations of older adults will see the largest change, with one in three residents estimated to be over the age of 65 years in the next decade,” it reads. “These dramatic differences will see a 57 [per cent] increase in 65-74 year olds and a 111 [per cent] increase in 75-[plus] year olds.”

In this context, the report warns of declining revenues, because a growing share of the population will qualify for senior discounts.

The report also predicts a significant uptick at the other end of the demographic spectrum. “It is estimated that over the next decade the [Capital Regional District] will support an additional 10,000 children,” it reads. “By 2040, BC Stats predicts that the 9.4 per cent of the population will be under 15 years, and 31.3 [per cent] will be over 65 years within Greater Victoria.”

Within this context, the report notes that the families of these children are more likely to be families with one parent or families with two parents working, a sociology that creates “time and financial pressure.”

Finding childcare and out-of-school programs is a “key concern,” the report notes. “While childcare has not been the mandate of Saanich Recreation, there are opportunities to contribute to solutions,” it reads.

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes late last year launched a regional initiative to help identify local gaps in daycare service.

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