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Letter: Fitness centre fee hikes kindling deamalgamation debate

By: Letter to the Editor

 | Apr 15, 2014 - 11:47 AM |
City council has asked staff to explore options for the fitness centres and pools operated by the city that include contracting out the management of these centres to the private sector.

This is a complete abdication of one of the primary responsibilities of a municipality and will seriously affect the quality of life of seniors, families with young children, low income individuals and families, and youth.

The first step towards this abandonment of its responsibilities was the approval of a two-year plan to increase user fees at the city-run fitness centres located in Valley East, Chelmsford, Dowling, Capreol and Falconbridge.

The Howard Armstrong Recreation Centre in Valley East is being hit the hardest, with the fee increases because of the policy that was put in place back in 1983, when the state-of-the-art facility was built with local tax dollars and with a promise that rates would always remain affordable so that families, seniors and people on low incomes would have a place to engage in wholesome, healthy activities.

The fee rates that have been approved will see annual adult membership rates for using the fitness rooms, the indoor track and public swimming go from $215 per year to $451 on April 1, 2015. The same membership for students and seniors will rise from $111 per year to $406 per year on April 1, 2015.

Last year a family of five could use the facility for fitness and public swimming for a family rate of $435 for the full year. Based on the motion approved by city council, that same family is going to have to pay $1,443 as of April 1, 2015.

These are outrageous increases and completely disregard to responsibility of the city to provide recreational facilities for the entire family that are affordable.
This has been a very quiet election campaign period up until now.

Many are already saying that it is time to once again approach the province for an order to deamalgamate and allow the outlying towns to govern themselves once again.

Robert Kirwan
candidate, Ward 5

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