KAMLOOPS — It's a brand that makes the City of Kamloops one of the most pristine locations in all the country for sporting events.
"When visiting teams come in from Alberta or the Lower Mainland they're just in awe of what we have on Mac Island and now the fields in Aberdeen for us, it's phenomenal, the grass is prestine, the conditions are just amazing and the soccer players are in envy," says Graham Cope, President of Kamloops Youth Soccer Association.
Being known as the Tournament Capital of Canada is quite an honour, but it doesn't come cheap. Which is why the cost of using recreational facilities is taking a big jump in the new year, meaning higher costs for groups like the Kamloops Youth Soccer Association, who rely on field rentals to operate.
"Facilities rentals is one of our biggest inputs, it probably represents 20% of our budget, so a 5% increase on 20% of our budget it's a substantial number."
Kamloops City Council has approved a 5% rate increase to take effect January 1st. Costs for sports fields, hockey rink rentals, other ice time, pool use and single event permits will rise. Further increases are planned for 2019 and 2021, allowing the city to recover 50% of its overall costs.
"It's a cost of living thing, power's going up, gas is going up, it's not like we haven't tried to keep our costs down but we have delayed the impact as in we haven't done it since 2014," says Byron McCorkell, Director of Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services.
Rising costs for user groups have been dramatic over the past decade. In 2005, the Kamloops Youth Soccer Association paid $15,000 a year to use city fields, now it pays $225,000 and add 5% more to that next year.
"Unfortunately, we have to pass those costs along to our members, we are a non-profit so we're not able to absorb them, but we do our best to keep our costs down as much as possible. We do anticipate there will be a modest increase in fees this year," says Cope.
In addition to the increases in rates and fees, the city is phasing out the annual corporate pass at the Tournament Capital Centre. For an annual membership, you'll see an $87.00 increase between now and 2021. And for monthly, drop-in and single submissions, users will also pay extra.
"We are cognizant of the fact it's an expense, so we're trying to give them lots of time before it actually impacts them," says McCorkell.
"Our costs have gone up, but we've tried to keep those fees down, going forward at least the city's given us a heads up and we can budget for those increases in the next few years and hopefully avoid a full 5% increase next year," says Cope.
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