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Parks and rec fees bylaw adopted

Fees and charges policy updated



The Resort Municipality of Whistler has adopted a two-per-cent annual increase for all indoor facility rates over the next two years.

The two-year fee schedule will give staff time to create a "consolidated recreation fees bylaw" that will include schedules for all Meadow Park Sports Centre (MPSC) admission rates, pass rates, Lost Lake cross country ski rates and indoor facility rates over a four-year period beginning in 2020.

There is no increase planned for outdoor facility rental rates in 2018 or 2019.

The two-year increase is being proposed to offset rising costs related to payroll, hydro and operating costs, and is expected to bring in an additional $6,000 annually.

The bylaw was given first three readings at the Dec. 5 council meeting, and adopted on Dec. 19.

Also at the Dec. 5 meeting, council adopted an amendment to its Parks and Recreation Fees and Charges Policy.

The policy amendment is mostly housekeeping in nature, updating language and changing certain clauses.

"A good portion of this policy update is to reflect most of our recreation products... in the last few years we've been adding some products and piloting some products and we basically want to formalize those," said manager of recreation Roger Weetman in a presentation to council.

The most significant changes in the new policy are around future "sessional programming" in the pool at MPSC, a 25-per-cent, non-refundable deposit for day-camp programs and free access for caregivers for people with disabilities at the MPSC.

Changes to sessional programming in the pool at the MPSC will make it possible for Whistler's growing swim clubs to occupy all six lanes of the pool in the future, if necessary.

"I'm not saying the rest of the public can't come into the pool and have access to those areas that are available, for example the kids pool or the hot spots, that's not the intention of this," Weetman said.

"It's really just to get council to support us needing to book out all six lanes for the swim club should we need to in the future."

The current policy is to try to always have at least two lanes open to the public.

"I would feel a lot more comfortable if we always had one lane open, so if somebody has bought the pass then they're not having to plan their schedule around swim club," said Councillor Sue Maxwell after the presentation.

But the change isn't expected to happen overnight, Weetman noted, and if it did happen, it would require good communication with MPSC users.

"We need to be very upfront with the community... that if you're coming swimming for lane swimming please don't expect it on these two days during these two times," he said.

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