All but one of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors agreed to an interim increase in user fees for the Sicamous and District Recreation Centre.
At the June 16 board meeting, Sicamous Mayor Terry Rysz opposed CSRD operations manager Darcy Mooney’s request for approval of a bylaw that allows for various interim user rate increases for the remainder of the 2022 and 2023 seasons.
On June 1, the CSRD took over management and operation of the facility through internal staff positions.
In a report to the board, Mooney advised that one 2022 initiative is to hire a consultant who specializes in the development of recreation bylaw rates and regulations.
Ice rental rates remain unchanged but rates will be updated for advertising and rates the Junior B hockey team has agreed to pay.
Mooney pointed out the regional district has invested more than $70,000 in upgrades to the fitness centre and he would like to see a rate increase in place by July 1, particularly as research has shown all the rates are consistently lower than the industry average.
He also expressed the concern that retaining low rates for the now-updated facility could draw people away from private operations.
Golden director Caleb Moss agreed, noting he believes rates should be set every year.
“Generally, we’re looking for enough cost recovery, we can’t give it away,” he said, advocating for incremental increases to avoid big fee swings. ”What I see here fits in; it’s new, it’s better and I support staff.”
Rysz, who had asked the board to consider amending the policy to the first reading in order to allow for more consideration, made a request “for a little more conversation.”
“We here in Sicamous do have some concerns and would like to have some input,” he said. “We’re not opposed to it, but there are some components to the bylaw we’re not comfortable with and we have had no say.”
Area E Rural Sicamous director Rhona Martin spoke in favour of the new bylaw.
“Having heard that the review will have input from Sicamous and myself, I will support this,” she told Rysz. “When we have our next meeting about this, I hope you will be there and give us your input.”
Mooney meanwhile says he anticipates the ice will be back in and the fitness centre will be open to the public after the July long weekend. For more information, go online to sicamousreccentre.ca.