October 09, 2013 - 2:46 PM
PENTICTON - Charging out-of-town visitors higher recreational fees is out of the question for city council.
Penticton's leadership voted to keep the recreational fee structure the same as it was. These would be fees to use the municipal pool and other resources.
Recreation manager Chuck Loewen and city staff found there is too much risk for too little reward for a two-tiered pricing system which would charge non-residents differently than Penticton's taxpayers.
"Whatever system is implemented has to have a good chance to succeed," Loewen said. If non-ratepayers were charged 25% more the city would gain $40,642 but could lose a maximum of $15,298. Some of these losses would be from people heading to private gyms, instead of the city's fitness room and swimmers paying to use Summerland's pool instead of Penticton's. If the non-ratepayer fees were raised to 35% the revenue goes up but so too does the risk of greater losses.
He recommended to stick with what works for now and examine different strategies to increase revenue.
Mayor Garry Litke could find no fault with that idea.
"The kind of improvement you are making at the centre is unbelievable," he said. "The place is getting utilized more than we anticipated."
Coun. Andrew Jakubeit follows the ain't-broke-don't-fix-it-rule. He said there is big-time growth with the current model.
"We all do better when we are generous," Coun. Wesley Hopkin said.
Coun. John Vassilaki disagreed with the estimated risks and said a two-tier system can work. He added no one is going to drive to Summerland for its pool if the non-ratepayer prices change at Penticton's pool.
"It's not fair for our taxpayers to pay for other people's recreation," he said. He suggested to lower the current price for ratepayers and keep the same price for non-residents.
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