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REPORTING · 18th June 2010
Walter McFarlane
At their May Fourth Meeting, the Advisory Recreation commission discussed potential fee changes at recreation facilities. They were given a break down of what different increases would look like. Martin Gould reminded the commission, as of July 1st, they have to worry about HST and they were already charging HST for purchases after July 1st.

Gould explained: with the HST, the cost of recreation was already going up 7%. “To get the right number, we had to take the hundred dollars we were charging, whatever, break out the GST, and add 12% on it which is the new HST,” said Gould.

Chair Linda Campbell verified they were looking at a 7% increase in addition to the increase the commission gave. This would mean if they raised the cost 3%, they would be effectively increasing the cost by 10%.

”You have a commitment to Council to try, at the best of our ability to, make a recommendation that raises somewhere between 24% recovery and 32% recovery,” said Gould.

One of the members of the commission reminded the group they could review and change the rate of recovery every 5 years or when there is a significant change in the Kitimat Economy. Martin Gould suggested they could recommend a 0% increase due to the Eurocan Shutdown. He explained this would mean they could not meet their 24% recovery.

Brian Liberman pointed out: there are people who were hurting because of Eurocan closure. He stated he has a Eurocan pass and he felt there were needier people then him who had to pay. The Commission discussed this further, mentioning a single parent in the community who lost her job because of the closure of Eurocan but did not have access to the program because she did not work for Euorcan. Campbell also stated the Council did not consider families where one parent works for Eurocan and the other works for Alcan when they considered this pass.

School Board Representative Barry Pankhurst reminded the Commission the HST was going to make an increase for them regardless. There was also a reminder that if the Commission forgot about factoring in the HST, there was a good chance the City Council did as well. Gould explained they could not decrease fees to compensate for the HST so fees had to go up.

In addition, they talked about separating the children’s rates and the seniors rates since the HST will effect these as well. Effectively, the HST would reduce the recovery from the senior’s rates. A motion was hammered out to recommend leaving the rates the same for one year. Effectively a 7% increase due to the HST. The motion was called and carried.

The recommendations were put before City Council on June 7th. Councillor Randy Halyk expressed concerns with the decision to keep KIR open for another year which was determined [earlier in the meeting.] He expressed concern this would affect the number of people using the facilities. On the other side of the coin, he did not want the recovery rate to drop because they were supporting recreation in the community.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff moved no change to adult ice revenues and 10% (including the HST) to the youth ice revenues. He explained youth ice fees were lower then in other communities and did not want to change the other fees.

Gould explained the HST would be applicable to all ice fees and they would not see the revenues from the 7% increase. He added if they were going to keep KIR open, it could offset the cost. Councillor Rob Goffinet confirmed this and said he would be comfortable if there was an equal increase in fees. Goffinet moved an amendment to increase fees equally.

Feldhoff was opposed because youth fees were lower then they should be while adult fees were actually higher then they were in other communities. He suggested another look at this next year.

Halyk said they do not attract people from elsewhere other then for a tournament. He said they could easily increase fees without scaring people away while paying for keeping the arena open. The amendment and the motion were both called and carried.