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Parks, rec fee increases add to costs of fields, ice, even Town's mascot

Posted July 11, 2017

New Tecumseth councillors (the majority) voted last night in committee to near across the board increases in parks, recreation, and culture user fees including introducing new rates for baseball tournaments, Tottenham Conservation Area access, and preschoolers.



Parker, New Tecumseth's mascot, will cost $75 an hour in 2018, up from $50 as part of the user fee increases. Parker's pictured with councillors Chris Ross, left, and Richard Norcross who voted against the increases.

Among the biggest increases by dollar amount are for wedding/banquet rentals of municipal facilities including the kitchen and bar, climbing from $689 to $890 (Sat. 9 am to Sun. 1 am). Event damage deposit goes from $200 to between $500 to $1,000.

The cost of ice time at the NTRC and Tottenham Arena for minor leagues goes from $145 to $175 per hour. Adult prime time increases from $200 to $219 per hour. At Beeton Arena, the cost for minor ice time goes from $145 to $160. Adult prime time from $200 to $210.

A family pass for the Rotary Pool in Alliston (max. six) goes from $133 to $148, and additional members $25, up from $21.

The cost for using the sports fields and baseball diamonds, adult leagues goes from $11 to $15 per hour. Minor league rates from $8.50 to $12.

Baseball tournament fees have been unbundled and will now cost $81.25 per diamond for adults, and $62.83 for minors, per diamond.

The cost to rent the bandshells doubles to $100.

Four month gym pass for adults at Tottenham Community Centre goes from $20 to $61.50.

Also beginning in 2018, free access to Tottenham Conservation Area will no longer be free Mondays to Thursdays during daytime. Annual membership fees will be charged including $50 for child; $75 adult; $60 senior; and $150 for a family of four.

Preschool aged children, who were free in most instances, will be charged at least $1 per child for various programs and activities.

When asked about the new rate schedule for the conservation area, Parks and Rec director Patrick D'Almada told councillors that they couldn't find any past policy that permitted the free access. There is a $5, $4 and $3 daily use rate that hasn't been enforced.

"My understanding in the past there has been a practice in allowing residents in 9-4 Mon to Thursday," said Mr. D'Almada, noting the daily rates will be in effect in 2018, along with the yearly membership.

Ward 6 councillor Richard Norcross said daily access to the conservation area should remain free because "we really don't have much green space. We should be encouraging people to go to these green spaces. I don't feel we should be charging them."

Ward 8 councillor Chris Ross also asked what the justification was for increasing the field rates by 36 per cent.

Mr. D'Almada said they surveyed 32 municipalities, but "It's not always apples to apples comparison. The fees we're recommending are based on the best estimate of the information we've collected."

Councillor Ross said he wanted more information has to what the comparables took into account.

"There's not one playing field in New Tecumseth that has irrigation or drainage," said Mr. Ross. "None of our fields are rated 'A' by any sports organization in the province or Canada. So I hope we're not comparing a field in Bradford for example, that has drainage, irrigation and lighting to a field that has none of those. I hope we're doing an apples to apples comparison."

"I would say we haven't dug that deeply into it," replied Mr. D'Almada. "This is really just a surface level review of the fees being charged for the service."

Ward 4 councillor Fran Sainsbury suggested that when the affected groups and organizations are notified of the pending increases, the emails include a means to know when they've been read.

"When you send out the emails to all the groups you have a contact for, can you have on that email 'click, read, received' so they got it, you know they got it, and then when you get back to them you'll see those who maybe didn't respond back to you," said Ms. Sainsbury. "If you give them two or three chances and they don't respond then there's no reason for them to stand here next year and tell us they didn't get the message."

The fee rates come to a council vote on July 24. It's expected to be by recorded vote.

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All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri