Estevan City Council has approved a series of rate increases for Leisure Services that will take effect on October 1.
Leisure Services manager Nathan Jesse said the Leisure Services advisory board wanted to increase rates by seven to 15 per cent for the majority of areas. But some groups will see larger increases.
Minor sports ice rentals, such as minor hockey and other youth programming, will increase from $85 an hour to $103 per hour, or 21.17 per cent. The pool rental for minor swim clubs, such as water polo, speed swimming and synchronized swimming, will jump 33 per cent from $75 per hour to $100 per hour.
A number of new charges have been added, including last-minute ice time rentals for $103 per hour; a playpark rental rate of $150 for three hours to rent a playpark outside of business hours; and a key deposit of $100 to ensure that keys are returned.
Mayor Roy Ludwig said the City can't afford to charge too much, or the public won't use their facilities. But he would like to see a cost-recovery rate for Leisure Services of around 40 to 50 per cent.
"Fifty per cent will depend on what venue we're looking at, and if that's in the neighbourhood of what other communities are charging," said Ludwig.
Councillor Kevin Smith said council is looking closer at what other communities charge for their services, and the cost-recovery rate they have. He noted Estevan was, at one time, at a cost-recovery rate of 32 or 33 per cent.
"After a lot of research that went into this, we think we're going to be a little more comfortable," said Smith.
Membership passes for the Leisure Centre will be going up almost across the board. Children, youths, adult, senior and family rates will increase for those who want a one-month, three-month or six-month passes, or a punch card.
One-day pass rates will not be increasing.
It will also cost more for adult ice rentals at Estevan's arenas; to rent the arenas or the Power Dodge Curling Centre when the ice is removed; to have City staff set up and remove tables and chairs, remove arena glass or install the floor over the ice; to rent tables and chairs and other amenities from the City; to rent other City-owned facilities; and to rent or access other facilities and amenities.
Council tabled a proposed increase to hike the rates for summer ice rentals, such as hockey schools, from $175 to $240 per hour, or 37.41 per cent. Leisure Services manager Nathan Jesse cautioned that the two summer camps that use Affinity Place – Fleck's Extreme Hockey and Gold in the Net – have warned him that if the increase goes through, they will have to relocate to another community.
“If we go that high, we'll just price ourselves out of the market,” said Jesse. “Compared to other summer ice rentals, in Regina and Saskatoon – we've done studies through our advisory board meetings – and we'd be way high.”
Jesse would like to see the rate at $175 to $200 per hour.
Fleck's paid about $42,000 to use the Leisure Centre this year.
Councillor Lori Carr wants to know how much it costs to run the ice plant during the summer months, and if Affinity Place is being operated on a break-even or a profitable basis during the hockey camps.
Since summer ice rentals aren't a time-sensitive issue, council will further study the matter before making a decision.