Flin Flonners hoping to blow off steam or get in shape at City of Flin Flon facilities will soon need to pay more to do it.
Council discussed and approved a new fee schedule for City-owned recreation facilities for 2020. Under the proposed new fee schedule, several City-operated recreation programs will see increases in price.
One of the largest increases for rec facilities can be seen with the Flin Flon Aqua Centre, with admissions, passes and memberships increasing in price and both resident and non-resident rates going up.
For adults, a 10-punch pass to the Aqua Centre will go up from $51.50 to $60 for Flin Flon residents, with non-resident fees going from $73.25 to $85. A monthly membership will be boosted from $70 to $85 (non-residents will go from $99.50 to $120), while quarterly and annual memberships will go from $142 and $283 ($201.75 and $401.75 for non-residents) to $170 and $340 ($240 and $480 for non-residents).
Ten-punch passes for students, youths and seniors will go from $37 ($52.50 for non-residents) to $50 ($70 for non-residents). Monthly, quarterly and annual passes will increase from $45, $90 and $180 ($64, $127.75 and $255.50 for non-residents) to $55, $110 and $215 ($78, $155 and $305 for non-residents).
Family passes will also see increases - going from $103, $114, $228 and $455 for the four tiers for residents to $125, $140, $275 and $550. Non-resident fees for the same privileges will go from $146.25, $162, $323.75 and $647.50 to $175, $200, $390 and $780. For adults hoping to pump iron in the upstairs weight room, prices will also climb accordingly. For residents, ten-punch passes will go from $45 to $55, with monthly, quarterly and annual rates going from $58, $114 and $228 to $70, $140 and $275. Non-resident fees will go from $64, $82.25, $162 and $323.75 for all four levels of passes to $78, $100, $200 and $285.
At the R.H. Channing Auditorium, permitted rentals in the evening will go from $650 to $675 for the evening and $625 to $650 for daytime use. For use of half the hall, fees will go from $425 in the evening and $400 in the day to $445 and $415. Rental rates for non-profits will go up as well, going from $325 to $340.
Rental of the Community Hall green room and use of the kitchen and bar will also see increases.
Some use of the Centoba Park ball diamonds will also see increases - particularly when the site is used for a midway or carnival. Previously, rates for the area were $600 a day for rental and $400 for cleanup. The changes will boost those charges to $800 a day and $500 a day for rental and cleanup respectively.
Rentals at Camp Whitney and the Flin Flon Tourist Bureau will remain unchanged, along with minor ball rentals for Centoba Park.
The increase in fees was brought forward by council’s social, community and recreation services committee to offset operating costs for the facilities.
“Labour increases, heat increases, all the things needed to manage and operate the facilities increases. I think it’s only natural that the prices for the things we’re offering are going to increase,” said councillor Colleen McKee.
“Our recreation services run a deficit. When we charge at the door, that brings in about 30 per cent of the revenue required to run those facilities, whether it's keeping the lights on, paying staff, everything else that's involved with keeping those doors open. The taxpayers pay the rest when they use the facilities themselves,” said councillor Tim Babcock.
“By increasing the rates, that takes a little bit of the burden off the taxpayer for the increases. The people using it pay the increase. At the same time, we can’t price ourselves out of the market. We can only charge so much for a Sunday afternoon fun skate.”
Councillor Karen MacKinnon, herself an avid user of the Aqua Centre, mentioned a conversation she had when first elected with a former City recreation director about the cost of facilities.
“When I first got on council I thought ‘Why are we running a deficit (on recreation)? Everything should be paid for. She said, ‘We as a community want to make it affordable for everyone to have recreation,” MacKinnon recalled, while adding the new prices are below the average for other facilities in the region.
“For a seniors pass for example, it’s $180 for a senior pass for the whole year and now it’s going up to $255.50 - which is still well below a lot of other communities. It may seem like a big increase for the moment, but it’s a catch up to offset the major costs of running the facilities.”
Under the new fee schedule, a monthly pass to the pool for a family will cost $140 for a Flin Flon-based family and $200 for non-residents. At their most expensive, those rates are among the cheapest in the region - a similar package at Dauphin’s Kinsmen Aquatic Centre costs $216, while Swan River’s Swan Valley Credit Union Aquatic Centre charges $202. For a quarterly family pass, the Swan River facility charges $518 - almost twice as much as the $275 fee a Flin Flon resident family would pay under the new schedule.
The annual family resident fee of $340 is well below a similar package for Melfort’s Northern Lights Palace Pool - that package costs $549.
“We’ve looked up different fees for different communities and we are way, way below anybody else,” added councillor Colleen Arnold.
“We’re hundreds of dollars less than other communities. I think that speaks volumes to why we are doing these increases and I think it's really important to try to do them in small increments instead of one great big, huge increase. I think that's important,” said McKee.