Nanaimo council approves fee hikes for parks and rec fields, facilities

NANAIMO – Increased revenue will help pay for free programs

People who use Nanaimo’s parks and recreation facilities will be paying more starting September.

A six-month review and city council approval has resulted in an increase in user fees for many parks and recreation services in Nanaimo.

Council approved the bylaw in a 5-3 vote Monday to amend fees and rentals for many fields and facilities.

The new fee schedule, which sees increases from two to four per cent, goes into effect Sept. 1 and will expire Aug. 31, 2016. Fee schedules are revised every three years, though some fees go up annually while others remain stagnant for years.

General admissions to gyms, pools and arenas will increase six per cent over the next three years, according to a city report.

Coun. Ted Greves said costs need to be recovered somehow, using a $2.9 million annual shortfall at the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre as an example.

We’re very cognizant of the fact that money has to be raised one way or another,” he said. “I have an example of NAC operating expenses. They were $3.8 million, and if you add debt to that it comes to $4.5 million. The revenue we get from NAC is $1.6 million so that leaves us $2.9 million in the red that someone has to pay for. So fees only cover 35 per cent of the cost of operating NAC, so either it’s got to be the taxpayers who pay for it through their taxes or user pay.”

Beban Park requires taxpayer subsidies of more than $2 million annually.

Coun. Jim Kipp voted against the bylaw, saying the increases are significantly higher than recent cost of living increases, and that facilities are simply becoming to expensive.

I can’t support this currently. We looked at saying this increase is in the range of of cost of living and I heard (Sunday) the cost of living is 0.7 per cent. We talked about three and four per cent average on these increases. I just can’t support it.”

The fee hikes are intended to bring in an additional $50,000 in revenue annually.

To restrict it by continually trying to make it pay for itself … to gain $50,000, I mean we just talked about $200,000 to the businesses downtown. To me it’s getting too expensive for people to take their kids [to rec facilities],” said Kipp.

The increase in revenue will help pay for programs that allow people to use the facilities for free or at a deep discount. Currently, the Leisure Economic Access Program allows those who show they can’t afford it 50 free visits annually to rec facilities, people aged 80-plus are free, students in Grades 5 and 6 enjoy a free Swim to Survive program, and three-month, six-month and annual rec passes are sold at a heavy discount.

Greves said the 80-plus program was debated heavily, but at the end of the discussions was kept in.

“It’s hard to take these things out once they’re in,” he said.

Coun. Diana Johnstone, who sits as chairwoman of the parks, recreation and culture committee, said she felt the process has been well thought out over the past six months, while Coun. Bill McKay said new opportunities need to be pursued if the city is hesitant to cut services but wants to keep facilities affordable.

We need to consider new revenue streams, possibly corporate sponsorships,” said McKay. “Keep levels down low as opposed to constantly increasing them in the same old fashion.”

For a complete list of new fees, visit

Just Posted

(Black Press file photo)
RCMP: Air ambulance called to Whiskey Creek after crash involving 2 motorbikes

Both riders taken to hospital with serious injuries

Nanaimo author B.S. Thompson has released his debut novel, ‘The Book of Nodd.’ (Photo courtesy Nora Funk)
Nanaimo author invites readers into dangerous world of dreams in debut novel

B.S. Thompson unveils ‘The Book of Nodd’ with online launch June 20

Potters Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter present their joint exhibit ‘Dig It’ at Art 10 Gallery until the end of June. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Potters show pieces for home and garden at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter’s show ‘Dig It’ on display until end of June

Construction work continues on the City of Nanaimo’s new Fire Station No. 1 on Fitzwilliam Street. (News Bulletin file)
Next phase of borrowing approved as Nanaimo fire hall construction ongoing

City of Nanaimo CAO says construction on Fitzwilliam Street hall on schedule and budget

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop ‘appalling’ live horse export, slaughter

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Most Read