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City hiking rental fee for athletic fields from $34 to $74

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Recreation groups warn a plan to hike the rental fee for athletic fields will make it harder for some Winnipeggers to play sports.

This morning, the Manitoba Organization of Disc Sports urged city council not to raise the cost of renting an athletic field to $70 from $34. The 2013 budget said the funds from the increased fees will be used to hire enforcement staff to find recreation groups who are using the fields without paying the booking fee.

Manitoba Organization of Disc Sports executive director Corey Draper said leagues and organizations which routinely rent the fields were not consulted about the fee hike or given any warning about the 105 per cent increase. Draper said the existing athletic fields are green space - not premium fields - and have problems with irrigation and holes.

He said the additional funds generated by the fee hike are not going towards maintaining the fields and will make it more difficult for adults and families to rent them for sports such as soccer and touch football.

"That doesn't really help anything," Draper said. "It's not solving the problem."

Couns. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) and Brian Mayes (St. Vital) have asked city council to consider reducing the booking fee for athletic fields to $43, and scrap the idea of hiring enforcement staff.

City council will vote on the 2013 capital and operating budgets this afternoon.

 

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