Penticton council rejects two-tiered recreation rates

Report finds charging outsiders more could actually decrease revenue

People living outside the city of Penticton will continue to pay the same rates for recreation services as residents, after council voted Monday to reject the concept of tiered pricing.

The idea of charging a premium rate for users of the city’s recreation facilities who live outside the city and not paying into the municipal taxes that build and support them, has been bandied about for years, with Coun. John Vassilaki as one of its most ardent supporters.

But after hearing a report from Chuck Loewen, Penticton’s general manager for facilities and recreation services, showing possible revenue losses with tiered pricing, council voted to retain the current pricing structure.

Back in 2010, Penticton developed a tiered pricing model but asked, through the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, that other participating communities chip in tax dollars instead. The RDOS rejected the proposal.

“West Bench was the only exception to this decision and provided, and continues to provide, the city with $20,000 in annual support,” said Loewen.

Tiered pricing wasn’t implemented and in 2011, Penticton city staff brought forward a report comparing the tiered pricing with a loyalty club model, which was launched in February 2013.

That loyalty club, Loewen said, was a better model for increasing revenue and decreasing the need for a city subsidy of recreation facilities. Even though it was launched quietly, he said, it is already effective.

“The launch of this club has produced more than 215 members in less than six months and an additional $8,500 in revenues,” said Loewen.

“Through promotion and expansion of offerings and options marketed to existing and potential members, and developing sophistication with exclusive offerings and rewards to members, increased use and activity will increase revenues and reduce subsidies.”

Vassilaki, who brought forward a motion earlier this year asking staff to prepare the cost-benefit analysis, was disappointed with the result of the vote.

“I disagree enormously with the losses that you are predicting … if we go to a two-tier system,” said Vassilaki. “I believe that it is not fair for our taxpayers to pay for other people’s recreation that do not contribute to our city.

“I think the citizens of Penticton deserve better. I think they are paying for other citizens to come and use our facilities.”

Coun. Helena Konanz also spoke in support of tiered pricing, questioning why the report was based on a minimum 25 per cent premium for non-ratepayers. Other cities, she said, worked more in the 10 per cent range.

“The point is, it is respect to our taxpayers. It doesn’t have to be an incredible amount, just something to show that the taxpayers in Penticton are treated a little different than the people who don’t pay taxes in this city,” said Konanz.

Mayor Garry Litke, however, felt that the recreation department was being successful with the direction they were following, with revenues climbing and city subsidy dropping.

“Obviously that place is getting used more than we intended and it is showing in the numbers,” said Litke.

Council voted 5-2 in favour of maintaining the existing pricing structure, with Vassilaki and Konanz opposed.


Just Posted

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club in Oliver will golf from sunrise to sunset to raise funds for ALS on June 29. (Submitted)
Golfing from sunrise to sunset in Oliver for ALS

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club have taken up the challenge June 29

Jann Arden will embark on Canada-wide tour Spring 2022 with a stop in Penticton at the South Okanagan Events Centre on June 13. (Contributed)
Jann Arden coming to Penticton in 2022

The Jann Arden Live! tour has been rescheduled for 2022

A storm watch has been issued for the Okanagan, Kootenays and Columbia regions of B.C. (Calvin Dickson photo)
Another severe thunderstorm watch issued for the Okanagan

Conditions are favourable for thunderstorms that may produce strong wind gusts, hail and heavy rain

The South Okanagan Tim Hortons raised over $4,000 through the three day orange doughnut promotion with 100 per cent of proceeds going to to the Residential School Survivors Society. The owner of these locations matched the amount. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
South Okanagan Tim Hortons raises over $8K for residential school survivors

More than $4,000 worth of doughnuts were purchased over three days

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop live horse export

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

(Dave Ogilvie photo)
One injured after being pinned by fallen forklift near Peachland

West Kelowna emergency crews responded to reports of a person stuck under a forklift

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

This goose family went for a leisurely stroll down Vernon’s Main Street Saturday, April 25. (Dave Deshane photo)
Controversial Vernon goose cull won’t fly this year

Necessary permit procedures held up at a federal level

Mounties cover a burgundy truck with a tent at Buckerfields in West Kelowna on Monday, June 14. The RCMP is investigating after a woman’s body was found inside the truck. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating suspicious death after body found in truck

Police responded to a truck parked out front of a Main Street business where the body was found

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

Most Read