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Victoria considers bumping recreation fees

May 11 2012

Victoria is considering raising the drop-in fees at both Crystal Pool and the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre by 25 cents.

The increase, recommended for approval by the city's corporate services committee, still needs to be passed by council.

If it goes ahead, drop-in fees would increase to $5.75 for adults, $4.50 for seniors, $4 for students, $3 for children and $11.25 for families.

Committee chairman Coun. Chris Coleman said it is never easy to increase fees.

"I think staff go through this process with a great deal of angst because they are aware any raising of fees may have an impact on a user group who are under resourced in their own lives. It becomes a tough part to deal with," Coleman said.

City staff said the fees were not increased last year. Even if the fees are raised, they would be among the lowest in the region, where adult drop-in fees range from $7 in Oak Bay to $6.15 in the West Shore and $5.50 in Sooke.

"If you take the perspective of what everyone else is doing in the region, we are the lowest or one of the lowest providers in the region," Coleman said.

"We wish to stay that way, but there are costs that need to be recovered."

The committee also endorsed the elimination of one of Crystal Pool's three classes of annual passes.

The bronze passes - which cost $294.48 for adults and $227.30 for seniors, compared to gold passes at $384.94 and $297.14, respectively - allow access to the facility during what are traditionally low-use periods. An estimated 90 people, mostly seniors, currently buy bronze passes.

Director of parks and recreation Kate Friars said the different classes of passes were developed years ago to try to encourage use of the pool during less popular times.

City staff say administering the system, which is unique to Victoria in the region, is difficult.

The city would retain the silver and gold passes. The committee is also recommending approval of a two per cent inflationary increase to all other fees.

bcleverley@timescolonist.com

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