The Vernon swimming pool is closed Friday. (morning star file photo)

Swim, skate and play fees rise 5% in North Okanagan

Weekend hours also reduced as rec centre struggles with fewer people and fewer funds

The cost to take a dip in the pool or lace-up at the rink is going up. And hours are being cut back.

Vernon’s drop-in fees are proposed to increase five per cent across the board, effective Jan. 1, 2021. A 1.58 per cent increase was originally scheduled, but the city is now considering to change it to five.

Pool rates are going from $6.55 to $7 for adults, $4.90 to $5.20 for youth 13-18, up 25 cents for children to $4.50 and family rates will see a 95 cent increase on the current $14.30 charge.

Arena drop-in rates are rising from $5.95 to $6.35 for adults, a 25 cent increase to $4.75 for youth, $1.75 to $1.90 for preschool, 85 cent rise to $14 for a family and shinny hockey is going from $5.95 to $6.35.

Facility and meeting room rentals are also being hiked, which includes Kal Tire Place, the curling rink, Centennial outdoor rink, Lakers Clubhouse, Kin Beach picnic shelter, Polson Park, sports fields and Priest Valley arena.

The recreation services budget was planned based on prior health regulations of gatherings limited to 50 people or less.

“Anticipate generating just 50 per cent of historic revenues while incurring 100 per cent of historic expenditures,” recreation services director Doug Ross said.

Due to this, some reductions are also planned, including cancelling a Wibit inflatable rental for the pool, reducing operating hours of the pool on weekends to 4 p.m., reducing hours of the arenas to 9 p.m. and closing the Priest Valley Arena from May to September.

The budget also plans for operations and participation to return to previous levels in the last quarter of 2021 as society returns to the ‘new normal’ with the anticipated success of vaccine(s) implemented by the fall of 2021, the report to council reads.

Swim lessons are also rising in price, for example, Swimkids four to six will go from $82.24 to $87.72 at the Vernon Recreation Complex Pool. Lavington pool lessons for Starfish to Swimkids two will rise from $44.70 to $47.68.

Meanwhile, there could be room for more walkers to get in some steps at Kal Tire Place. Currently, there are only 10 pre-registered walkers at a time allowed to use the upper concourse for walking.

“We are planning on increasing those numbers if allowed to do so, if it’s safe to do so,” recreation services director Doug Ross said.

But just like the pool or rinks, you have to book a space ahead of time and with fewer people allowed in the spaces due to health regulations, all drop-in activities book up fast.

Vernon council is expected to adopt a bylaw for the fee change during budget deliberations at city hall Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. There is an opportunity for public input Monday at 2:30 p.m. and Tuesday at 11:30 p.m.

The increase follows a four per cent increase implemented earlier in 2020.

READ MORE: Vernon pool to see price increase, hours cut

READ MORE: Vernon curbs COVID-19 impacts with pickup parking downtown


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