DIDSBURY — Council has approved increases in most rates and fees at town recreation facilities starting this summer – changes that in some cases now include different rates for local and non-local users.
The move came by way of motion at the recent regularly scheduled council meeting following deliberations by the strategic planning commission and work by town staff.
The new rates and fees apply to the arena, leisure ice time in-season, leisure surface off-season, arena programs, arena advertising, curling rink, aquatic centre, multi-purpose room, Eldon Foote Hall (train station), and equipment rentals.
Group swim lesson rates now include new local and non-local rates: preschool $42 local and $45 non-local; swim kids level 1-4 $45 local and $50 non-local; swim kids level 5-7 $50 local and $55 non-local; swim kids level 8-10 $58 local and $64 non-local.
The multi-purpose room (MPR) rates also include local and non-local rates, including hourly rentals of $30 local (unchanged) and $35 non-local, and half-day rates of $180 local (unchanged) and $200 non-local.
Train station rentals are now $20 per hour for local and $25 per hour non-local; $175 daily for local and $200 daily non-local, and $125 half day for local and $135 non-local.
The one hour pool and classroom rate is now $130 for local and $150 for non-local, both up from the previous rate of $125 per hour.
Asked by Coun. Bill Windsor to explain why the town decided to introduce the local and non-local rates, manager of community services Nicole Aasen said, “We really feel that our Didsbury residents whose taxation dollars are supporting these facilities already should be given different rate, so now we are introducing the same non-local rates our swimming lessons, our swimming pool rentals as well as MPR and train station rentals.”
The price difference between local and non-local “is not huge, but it does recognize our local users and we want to be able to offer them the best price that we can and encourage their continued use of the Didsbury facilities,” she said.
“We of course welcome our non-local users, but their tax dollars aren’t supporting these facilities the same way that Didsbury residents are, so this is we felt a fair way to be able to keep our rates lower for our Didsbury residents and do a nominal increase for the non-local rates for outside users.”
“Across the board we have really tried to be mindful of the economy in being moderate in terms of how we are looking at changing these rates for our users.”
Meanwhile, main ice in-season rates increase by between two and six per cent, leisure ice in-season rates by between two to five per cent, main surface off-season rates by between four and 100 per cent, leisure surface off-season rates by between four and 10 per cent, arena programs by between zero to 25 per cent, and arena advertising rates by between one and 12 per cent.
Private 30-minute lessons increase from $20 to $25, semi-private 30-minute from $20 to $22.50, private 60-minute from $40 to $45, semi-private 60-minute from $30 to $35, private 6x30 from $125 per person to $130, and semi-private 6x30 from $100 per person to $110.
In-season rates at the curling rink remain unchanged, while off-season rates increase from between six and 13 per cent.
Aquatic centre rates increase from between zero and 20 per cent, with family (two adults and up to three kids) now costing $18, up from $15.
Punch passes also increase from between zero and 11 per cent.
Council passed second and third reading to the 2022-09 Recreation Rates Bylaw.
Mayor Rhonda Hunter, deputy mayor Curt Engel, and councillor John Baswick did not attend the June 14 council meeting, held in person and on YouTube.