City increases user fees for recreational facilities

By Adam Donnelly
May 24, 2016 - 4:26pm Updated: May 24, 2016 - 6:33pm

KAMLOOPS — The City of Kamloops spent years building the Tournament Capital brand, making the city the one of the premier destinations in Canada for all kinds of different sporting events; being on top isn’t cheap, which is why City Council voted last week to increase user fees for recreational facilities across the city.

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Kamloops Youth Soccer Association Executive Director Keith Liddiard is catching up on his email today, after a busy weekend. His club hosted the annual Slurpee Cup Soccer Tournament this past weekend. 160 youth soccer teams, over a variety of age groups participated, and the reviews of the facilities at McArthur Island were good.

“The facilities here, in general, are superbly well kept,” Liddiard told CFJC Today, in a interview. “This is the Tournament Capital. The city lives up to the motto, and consequently, when teams come here, they find exactly what they are hoping for, which is quality fields to play on, and quality facilities to use.”

The prices for maintaining the Tournament Capital brand are on the rise, which is why city council voted last week to raise user fees for recreation facilities over the next 3 years.  5% in 2017, 2019, and 2021.

“It’s really all of our recreational facilities,” City of Kamloops Recreation, Social Development, and Cultural Manager, Barbara Berger said, “including our parks and play fields… It’s our Tournament Capital Centre, it’s some of our halls… McArthur Island, you know, our arenas.”

The City felt it was better to pass the costs along to those actually using the fields, rather than taxpayers as a whole.

“We set about with the goal to collect 50% of the costs of our facilities, through [collecting] the actual user fees,” Berger said.

KYSA pays around $200,000 per year to use fields around the city, so it the increase is significant for the organization.

“Obviously it’ll have an impact,” Liddiard said. “Whatever impact it has basically has to be picked up by our membership., because being a non-profit organization, that’s our main source of revenue, and it’s the user that actually use the fields.”

Berger says she doesn’t want to limit anyone’s access to city run facilities: “…We are always look at access. Access and affordable recreation  for everybody.”

For KYSA, those costs shouldn’t be too much to bear. “It’s a moderate increase,” Liddiard said. “Obviously it’s going to require an increase in fees which should be reflected next year."

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