Penticton councillor wants two-tier rec prices.
For the fourth time, Penticton Coun. John Vassilaki is taking a run at introducing a two-tier pricing structure for Penticton’s recreation assets.
On March 4, the long-time city council member introduced a notice of motion, notifying his fellow councillors of his plans to reintroduce the concept for debate and ask them to direct staff to prepare a cost-benefit analysis of having non-Penticton residents pay a higher rate to use the community pool and other facilities.
“It’s not fair for everybody, especially for the citizens of Penticton, because they pay all the taxes to keep these facilities going,” said Vassilaki. He would like to see residents of West Bench, Naramata, and other neighbouring communities chipping in a larger share.
Vassilaki he often hears from community members who approach him when he is out and about to ask about the issue and ask why a two-tier system isn’t happening.
“A lot of them are very upset because council isn’t doing anything about it,” said Vassilaki.
Two-tier systems operate in other communities, and while they have been proposed several times in the past for Penticton, they have failed to be implemented by councils of the day. Vassilaki hopes that staff will prepare a report that supports the concept this time.
“We have been getting different reports from staff over the years,” said Vassilaki. “I told them I want facts to come forward. I want a proper report to come in and I want them to look after the interests of the people of Penticton.”
Vassilaki also refutes some of the common arguments against a two-tier system. He doubts it would have any effect on the number of people using the facilities or shopping while they are here.
People shop where they need to, he said, and the possible increase in cost at the facilities will still be less that travelling to other centres.
“Where are they going to go? If they were to go to Summerland or Oliver to use their facilities, they are going to use up $7 worth of gas, said Vassilaki. “The increase to use our facilities will probably be $1 to $1.50.”
Vassilaki’s motion is expected to come up for debate at the next regular council meeting on March 18. If passed, he said the staff cost-benefit analysis could take up to two months to prepare.