Raise Recreation, Parks Fees: Report

 

 

 

 

 

 

Report on report. City of Mississauga officials and dmA Planning & Management representatives presented their draft Pricing Study report for proposed changes to fees for recreations programs and services last night at Noel Ryan Auditorium. Here, Wendy Donovan, a principal at dmA Planning & Management, explains why the study. Staff photo by Julia Le

Mississauga residents might soon be paying more to access the City’s recreation programs and services.  Residents could see an average increase of 3.7 per cent in user fees if City Council approves a report created by City of Mississauga officials and consultants from dmA Planning & Management.
At a meeting last night held at the Central Library to get public input on proposed changes to fees, residents were told by Wendy Donovan, who was representing dmA Planning & Management, that the cost of running recreation programs — aquatics, arenas, community programs, fitness, active living programs, golf, meeting rooms and sports fields — is rising far more quickly than the revenue the City receives from users.  
Those in attendance were also presented with 24 recommendations that included replacing current, inconsistent pricing with a single 20 per cent discount for older adults, people with disabilities, students and youth, and having a more uniform price for membership fees, drop-in programs and meeting room rates.
Donovan told attendees that the recommendations come from a hard look at the current rates and program categories, best practices of other municipalities and financial data.

In the past, the City updated its fees by adding a routine, annual percentage to cover inflation. However, Donovan says, in order to maintain community access to programs, the City needs to look at simplifying and streamlining its pricing.  The City has been working with the consultants at the request of City Council.
The Pricing Study Report suggests ways to balance fees and taxes and affordability, while taking into account the city’s demographics and the needs of residents.
“There are segments of society in every community that need help,” said Donovan. “Whether they’re people on disability, people who receive some type of social assistance, young people who are just starting out in life and have mortgages and children and have not reached the top of their earning capacity, (they) have a greater need for financial support and there are beliefs in those communities that there should be mechanisms to provide that financial support.”
The City’s manager of business planning Derek Boyce adds the fees take into account clients’ ability to pay and the study allows the City to better anticipate market trends to make adjustments to program and service choices.

Also among the report’s recommendations is consolidating fees for similar programs and services. That will reduce 256 unique fees to 34 hourly fees.
Boyce said the public meetings are meant to educate the public and cover areas they may have missed. He said they’re rationalizing a price that is more “equitable for all users, but having said that we’ll see some users that will see some significant increases and we’re going to work with those groups in January and February to talk about some of the issues, see where they are and that consultation will guide what we ultimately recommend to Council.”  
In January and February, officials will meet with sports groups to get their feedback.
If approved by Council, the recommendations will be implemented next year and in 2013.
For more information, visit www.mississauga.ca/pricingstudy or call 905-615-3200, ext. 4773.
jle@mississauga.net

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Zoom Zoomers!

Other recreational, informational, and lifestyle lessons our Office Puppy is teaching us…In the last few years more and more of dmA’s projects have had a focus or a component dealing with older adults. More specifically that group we now call Zoomers – Baby Boomers with Zip I guess! Yours truly – the Donovan and Morgenstern in dmA (yes for all those who wonder what the d and the m stand for it is Donovan and Morgenstern – the underlined m a story for another day) are Zoomers – born between 1947 and 1962 in Canada – years when double the normal number of children were born in most western countries.

Baby Boomers affected everything they passed through – elementary schools – there weren’t enough; recreation programs – there were hardly any; universities – also not enough spaces, particularly when those Baby Boomer women decided they would go too! And then they all had children and the huge number of Baby Boomers of course wanted good schools and quality recreation for their offspring – girls as well as boys. Now the Baby Boomers are retiring and what will that transition mean for society.

As we have shared with some of our clients, on average Baby Boomers have more disposable income than any generation before or perhaps after them. The “senior” discounts we believe should be a thing of the past if they are provided on the assumption that older adults – at least those who are just reaching their normal retirement age – have less money. That will we know be a difficult battle for many communities but it is a fact.

On a lighter note Zoomers (who do not like the term older adult or senior btw) apparently consider themselves maybe entering middle age, and show all the signs of fighting the aging process. They will do that by continuing to work for pay – but on their terms, doing what it takes to stay healthy and active, and yes maybe a second family – even if this time it is a furry little beast.

It has been many years since the d and the m got up with a young baby but Tommy reintroduced us to that joy this summer. He forces us to keep up – with our reading of books about him, our reading of his sometimes obscure signals, his antics, his energy. He has made us feel young and old sometimes in the same hour. But he is a new experience and a wonderful source of amazement and amusement. He is life and that is what it is all about being a Zoomer.