Estevan City Council approved a series of fee increases for Leisure Services facilities during Council's August 26 meeting.
The rate increases cover everything from summer hockey schools to Spectra Place events to user rates for the fitness room and the swimming pool. Rates have increased each of the last few years; last year's increases helped push Leisure Services to a 46 per cent cost recovery rate, compared to 35 per cent in 2011.
Likely the most significant increase is a 165 per cent jump for the set-up and tear down fee for events at Spectra Place, bringing it in-line with the glass removal and portable floor installation costs. Each will now be $2,292.
Non-profit summer schools, such as hockey and figure skating, will see a 37 per cent increase, while private for-profit groups will see a 21 per cent increase. The summer/fall rental fee for all renters will also increase 37 per cent. All three will now be $175 per hour.
The minor ice user groups will increase 21 per cent to $85 per hour.
The cost of having a birthday party at the Leisure Centre's pool or at the multi-purpose room has also gone up. There will also be rate increases for master pass punch cards and three-month and six-month cards; adult daily general facility admission passes; tennis and squash court rentals; and more.
Councillor Greg Hoffort, who chaired the August 26 council meeting since Mayor Roy Ludwig was on holidays, said that the Leisure Services advisory board spent a lot of time deliberating the rate issue, but felt the increases were necessary.
“There is an obligation from the City to provide Leisure Services, and to charge appropriately,” said Hoffort.
“It has received a lot of deliberation, and that is because whatever we don't collect from the users is borne by the taxpayers.”
Other highlights from the meeting were:
*Council gave the final green light for West D Construction's The Ridge subdivision to proceed. The subdivision, located at the southern edge of the community near Highway 47, will be home to hundreds of modular homes, but with a twist: the modular tenants will own the land where their home is located, instead of renting it. There is some concern about the location of the access point for the subdivision, as it is close to a curve on Highway 47.
*A secondary suite for 256 Duncan Road was approved.
*Council gave three readings to a bylaw for residential garbage pick-up program in the community. The average garbage pick-up bill will be $10.70 every two months, compared to the previous $14.70 every two months. The switch to front yard garbage pick-up is the reason for the decrease. But once curbside recycling begins, residents will be charged an extra $10 every two months.
*Three readings were also given to a bylaw that will increase the number of people on the Leisure Services board from eight to 10.