Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Who is stealing?

  • Print

City councillors have not been very helpful in explaining the rationale for doubling the rental costs for athletic fields. Officially, the increase is being blamed on a mysterious collection of scofflaws who are using some of the city's 600 athletic fields without paying.

Council requested the increase without knowing much about the problem, or how serious it might be.

There are undoubtedly some loosely organized groups that simply show up in city parks and start playing soccer, ultimate frisbee, football or some other field game without renting the field, but they invariably leave when an authorized club shows up to play.

In approving the 2013 operating budget, council merely said it was raising fees to $74 from $34 per single rental to pay for more enforcement, but it's a disingenuous argument.

The Manitoba Organization of Disc Sports, for example, leases eight athletic fields at Maple Grove Park, which it maintains and manages at no charge to the city. Ultimate frisbee is so popular, in fact, that the organization has been unable to rent additional space from the city.

But if the city is so overbooked that it can't rent additional fields for disc sports, how can it then say someone is stealing by using the space for free? The city, moreover, is only budgeting $45,000 for enforcement, which will be used to determine the extent of the problem, a classic case of putting the cart before the horse.

The extra fee might not sound like a fortune -- it's about $1 per player per game day -- but it adds up over the season. More to the point, the increase appears to be merely another attempt to boost revenues, or perhaps to levy a fee that the city believes reflects its own costs.

User fee increases are not unusual, but a 100 per cent hike is, particularly at a time when health officials are stressing the need for people to be more active. The councillors who wanted this increase should have been more candid and honest with taxpayers, rather than passing it off as a noble attempt to level the field.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Gerald Flood, Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 2, 2013 A14

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Kevin Cheveldayoff announces Maurice contract extension

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • STDUP ‚Äì Beautiful West End  begins it's summer of bloom with boulevard s, front yards  and even back lane gardens ,  coming alive with flowers , daisies and poppies  dress up a backyard lane on Camden St near Wolseley Ave  KEN GIGLIOTTI  / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS  /  June 26 2012
  • A goose heads for shade in the sunshine Friday afternoon at Woodsworth Park in Winnipeg - Day 26– June 22, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Now that the snow is mostly gone, what are your plans?

View Results

Ads by Google