Council debates recreation cost recovery

Recreation, and the significant costs associated with it, were debated at Town Council on June 2.

Should local government be subsidizing recreational opportunities that might only be enjoyed by less than half of the population? On the opposite spectrum, should we even use the word subsidize, perhaps using a term with a better connotation, such as investment? That was the debate that sprung up at the June 2 Town Council meeting during a pair of reports from Jordan Petrovics, manager of recreation services.

Petrovics spoke to his reports on both the arena use and rate review as well as a recreation cost recovery survey.

His report on arena rates demonstrated that Golden’s rates fell more or less in line with that of other similarly sized communities in the province, although its full ice rental rates fell on the higher end of the spectrum, with only Summerland’s $148/hour punching above Golden’s $126.30/hour for adult ice time. Still, Golden’s rates were very comparable to those of Invermere, Revelstoke and Creston, who all ranged from $110/hour to $120/hour.

Its public skating rates, that saw adults pay $4.50 and children $2.50 per session in 2014/15, are also comparable with other communities.

Altogether, the arena was rented for 1,751 hours of a possible 2,086 hours last season, an improvement from 2013/14, where less hours were rented despite more available ice time.

Coun. Bruce Fairley didn’t see the value in comparing Golden’s fees with other communities, pointing out that circumstances are often vastly different from town to town.

Coun. Fairley expressed some concern that, according to him, the arena alone costs more than the entire recreation budget of 10 years ago, and that many in Golden are choosing recreation opportunities that aren’t subsidized like the arena.

Coun. Caleb Moss disagreed with the use of the s-word, preferring to call it an investment.

“I recognize that they cost money and that they don’t generate as much as you put into it, which I suppose you could look at as a subsidy, but I always sort of look at it as an investment into a different outcome,” Coun. Moss said, while recognizing that success should continue to be based on usage rather than simple cost recovery.

Petrovics later revealed the results of a survey that was filled out anonymously by each of the six Town Councillors and Mayor Ron Oszust with regards to recreation cost recovery. Part of a much larger, ongoing project, the survey was seen as a way to get initial feedback from council across several different areas.

When asked where the strategic cost recovery project rated in terms of importance, two councillors deemed it to be very important, four said it was somewhat important while one said it was of low importance. Not a single councillor believed it was not important.

When it came to how much money should be committed to the project, however, council’s opinions were mixed. One councillor said that $100,000 + should be spent over multiple years with the support of a recreation consulting firm.

Two councillors believed that $60,000-80,000 would suffice, while three said that under $15,000 is all that should be required under a staff-driven model.

One councillor believed that more information was required before he/she could answer the question.

Also as part of the survey, Council was given the opportunity to discuss the public value of an effective recreation department.

One councillor wrote a “lack of recreational options is a detraction to individuals or families considering relocating,” while another stated that recreation “creates community for all residents, young, old, rich, poor, single families. There are numerous health benefits directly related to sports facilities, parks and trails.”



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 test tube. (Contributed)
test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health launches online booking for COVID-19 tests

Testing is available to anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms

Morning Start: Selfies Kill More People Than Sharks

Your morning start for Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020

A health-care worker prepares to swab a man at a walk-in COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal North, Sunday, May 10, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)
Interior Health records 21 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

Thirty-six cases remain active; two people are in the hospital, one of whom is in intensive care

Gabrielle Clarke is an art therapist in Golden who works in mixed media art. Clarke’s art will be on display downtown at the Go-Lab. (Gabrielle Clarke photo)
Mixed media arts show comes to Go-Lab

Clarke’s art will be on display until Nov. 6

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

A 20-year-old man was pronounced dead following a three vehicle collision on Highway 1 west of Revelstoke Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (File photo)
One dead after Highway 1 crash near Revelstoke

20-year-old man pronounced dead at the scene of a three vehicle collision west of Revelstoke

Steven Stuart Gardner has been charged with possession of a firearm contrary to an order and possession of a firearm without a licence. He has also been charged, under the Motor Vehicle Act, with driving while prohibited. (Crime Stoppers photo)
Car connected to shooting, dumped in Chase leads to unrelated arrest

Investigation of Kamloops shooting leads police to a rural Chase property

Volunteer registered nurse Stephanie Hamilton recieves a swab from a driver as she works at a Covid-19 testing site in the parking lot at Everett Memorial Stadium on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020 in Everett, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
13 more COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

There are 624 cases in the region since the start of the pandemic

The body of Natsumi Kogawa, 30, was found in the Gabriola Mansion on Davie Street, Vancouver, in September 2016. Vernon man William Schneider, who was found guilty of second-degree murder, now awaits the decision of his appeal hearing Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. (Vancouver Police Department photo)
No decision yet for Vernon man appealing murder sentence

William Victor Schneider was convicted in relation to Natsumi Kogawa’s death in 2016

Vernon once again boasts the lowest gas prices in B.C. Oct. 20, 2020. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
North Okanagan boasts lowest gas prices in B.C.

Gas going up, and down, in Vernon specifically

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

École de L’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
COVID-19 confirmed at Kelowna Francophone school

École de L’Anse-au-sable is not affiliated with local SD23

Most Read