Victoria city council voted to minimize its admission rate increases. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Victoria votes to keep recreational admission fee increase to a minimum

In January 2020 fees will go up by two per cent, rentals up 4.7 per cent

Victoria City Council minimized the increase in admission fees to recreation sites like Crystal Pool and the ice rink at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.

City staff had recommended an overall increase of 4.7 per cent to all recreation fees, including admissions and court and field reservations.

In a committee of the whole meeting, Couns. Ben Isitt and Sharmarke Dubow felt this jump could impose financial barriers on too many people.

“[We shouldn’t] just because other municipalities have been more aggressive with raising their fees; that should be a badge of honour for Victoria that we’ve held the line and not tried to limit barriers for our residents,” Isitt said. “I think we should keep that position rather than try to catch up to others.”

ALSO READ: Victoria recreation fees set to rise nearly five per cent

Isitt put forward a motion keep the increase to two per cent.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps did not agree with the idea.

“I think it’s really bad governance. The reason that the rates are going up by 4.7 per cent is because we froze them in 2019,” Helps said. “So we didn’t raise them last year and it will catch up with us.”

The increase had been proposed by city staff to keep up with upcoming staff pay raises, and high maintenance costs due the age of the Crystal Pool facility.

ALSO READ: Victoria city staff start from square one on Crystal Pool project

Coun. Jeremy Loveday moved to keep only the admission rates increase to two per cent, while all other fees, including field rentals, court rentals and Royal Athletic Park rentals would go up by 4.7 percent.

Isitt then changed his mind and motioned to freeze admission rates all together, a motion which failed in a split vote.

Later in council, Isitt tried to bring forward the same proposition with different wording, which failed once again.

The new fees will be two per cent for admission and 4.7 per cent for everything else, and will be imposed beginning Jan. 1, 2020.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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