Scott Cressman, For the Independent
Rental fees to use the Township of Wellesley’s recreation facilities have received their regular increase of three per cent after township council approved the fee hike at a July 9 meeting.
The cost increase is due to increased hydro and water bills for the Wellesley properties, said Brad Voisin, director of facilities for the township. “We’re just trying to keep up with some utility costs,” he said.
“They seem to continually rise.”
Rental fees are the main source of income for Wellesley Township’s recreation department. Staff has researched current rates at other nearby
facilities to determine an appropriate charge for users, according to documents from the most recent council meeting.
The new prices affect users of Wellesley’s two community arenas, seven softball diamonds, four community centres, four soccer pitches, six playgrounds, one splash pad, picnic shelters, and multi-use concrete pad.
With big recreation complexes now in Waterloo, Wilmot, and Woolwich, Voisin said Wellesley Township has much lower fees than the newer facilities in those communities. That affordability has been an advantage, he said. The township gets substantial rentals from city groups and schools and relies on city users making the trip to Wellesley.
“To fill our facilities, we need to draw out of the city,” he said.
Wellesley’s arenas are not fully booked through the week, so the township wants to keep fees low to encourage more use.
The demand in Wellesley has stayed consistent, despite new recreation complexes built in neighbouring communities, Voisin said.
“I thought that with Wilmot adding a pad and Woolwich adding a pad, that we’d see a drop in bookings” but that hasn’t happened, he said. “I think our pricing is a part of the reason for that.”
The township’s last recreation increase in 2011 was also three per cent.
The changes take effect immediately, Voisin said, but the old price will still be honoured for existing bookings.
Wellesley Township also plans to hire a new full-time facilities operator who will be paid $47,000 per year plus benefits. This new position and its salary would be offset by eliminating a part-time position in the recreation department.
Moving to more full-time staff and fewer part-time workers will help ensure well-trained personnel are available at the township’s facilities, Voisin said.
The new employee will provide a qualified supervisor at the facilities for more time during the week, and he or she will be fully trained in health, safety, and evacuation procedures.