Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
The city volleys it back
The city finally got back to me, providing an explanation — of sorts — why registration for my Leisure Guide volleyball program at Carpathia School has gone up 54.6 per cent in four years.
I blogged a day or two ago that Winnipeg School Division hasn’t received a fee increase from the city for a decade, and the custodians’ pay which the city covers is up only 11.6 per cent in those four years.
But this isn’t a cash grab through user fees, the city assures me.
Here’s the city’s response:
"The City of Winnipeg strives to offer high-quality recreation facilities and programs for all citizens. Fee increases are necessary in order to keep pace with inflation and rising costs in program delivery. Although there have been increases, fees for City of Winnipeg Leisure Guide programming remain either below or comparable to the local market.
"The latest Leisure Guide fee increase took place in September 2011. All fees were increased by the same rate, with the exception of Learn to Swim and Learn to Skate which were increased by a lower rate.
"Recreation Services receive a high rate of mill rate support through the City’s annual operating budget. The revenues generated from sport and recreation fees are not enough to cover the overall cost to offer such services.
"The City of Winnipeg is committed to ensuring that recreation and leisure programs and services are accessible to residents regardless of their ability to pay. Fee waivers and subsidies are available to those who require financial assistance."
OK, thanks for sharing that with us...
I know that if at least 90 per cent of the participants were residents of WSD and rented the gym for the winter, it would cost us $20 for the season. If more than 10 per cent were from outside the division, it would be $29 per hour — which, for eight two-hour sessions, would cost us each 20 to 30 bucks, based on 15 to 20 players, plus whatever it cost one of us to buy a volleyball.
So just what are all those city costs that drove up this program’s price by 43 per cent exclusive of the custodians’ fees?
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About Nick Martin
Nick Martin is the old bearded guy at the back of the newsroom, the most experienced reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, having started his career in Ontario in 1971.
He’s been covering education for the Free Press since the spring of 1997, after decades primarily covering municipal politics, including a four-year stint at the Ontario legislature for the London Free Press.
Nick moved to Manitoba in 1988 with his Winnipeg-born wife, who is a professor at the University of Manitoba. They have two kids, both of whom graduated from Grant Park High School: son Chris and daughter Gillian.
Nick has won a national journalism award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, two Manitoba Human Rights Journalism awards, and the Ontario Reporters Association investigative award.
Nick is a long-distance runner, having finished and survived 18 marathons and 15 half-marathons and 30-kilometre races, and having (barely) survived 10 years as an outdoor and indoor soccer coach.
Nick became a soccer referee in 2007, delighting in his 60s in outrunning 16-year-olds and keeping his distance from obstreperous coaches and parents.
Nick and his wife have discovered a mutual love for kayaking at their Whiteshell cottage, and are both regulars at the Reh-Fit Centre. They hold season tickets to both the Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Warehouse, and as empty nesters, have rediscovered the joys of an active winter vacation.
A native of Jarrow-on-Tyne, England, Nick is a member of the Toon Army as a Newcastle United supporter, and a proud citizen of Leafs Nation.
Blogs that Nick Martin follows:
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