Parks and Recreation Fee Changes

On April 1, 2022 the Recreation Fee structure will be changing. This will affect all recreation programs, rentals, and memberships fees. We plan to start communicating this message to residents by mid November to prepare them for the rate increase in 2022.

Parks and Recreation fee changes will take place on April 1, 2022.   

On April 1, 2022 the Parks and Recreation Fee structure will be changing. These changes will affect all recreation services; programs, rentals, drop ins, voucher and memberships fees. As a result of the fee structure changes that was approved by regional council, some fees are increasing in cost while others are staying the same or decreasing. Please see the full list of fee structure changes here.

The updated fee structure will reflect the actual cost of providing recreation services to residents. The fee structure change is due to several factors, including:

  •  Parks and Recreation fees have been frozen since 2011
  • Current recreation fees do not reflect actual costs of providing the service. 
  • Recreation fees are well below other organizations and municipalities.
  • Opportunity to support not-for-profit organizations by aligning with their fee structure and overall marketplace.

How will this fee change affect residents enrolled in recreation

Where the fees have been frozen since 2011, many of the fees have increased, therefore, it may be more expensive to participate in recreation programs.

How this fee change affects seniors (55+)

The new age for seniors is 60 years of age, which will align with the age of seniors at other Recreation facilities. This will impact residents ages 55-60 who previously received seniors’ discounts. The discount rate will remain at 25% savings, therefore, no change.

How this fee change affects rental clients

Where the fees have been frozen since 2011, many of the rental fees have increased, therefore, it may be more expensive to rent HRM recreation assets. There will be no free rentals for not-for-profit groups, however, if the not-for-profit group is registered with Registry of Joint Stocks, they are eligible for a 50% discount for all room rentals.

How this fee change affects current members

Where the fees have been frozen since 2011, many of the membership fees have increased, therefore, it may be more expensive to be a member at HRM owned and operated facilities.

The fee changes will benefit ALL residents in several ways, including:

  • New user categories – user categories will be based on the age group and type of organization.
  • Consistent subsidization for fee categories – for example, the fee structure will ensure that all youth programs across municipality will receive same subsidy.
  • Reduced risk of unexpected fee increases – new fee structure accounts for inflation, helping to reduce unexpected and potentially significant fee increases
  • Predictable five-year review cycle – new requirement to review fee structure every five years
  • More inclusive and affordable programming – affordable access program, senior discount, student discount, employee discount and volunteer discount
  • No user charge for Parks that are rented for public events that are open to the public, non-exclusive and free of charge
  • Overall standardization, consistency and transparency of fees across the municipality

If you have any question regarding how the Parks and Recreation fee changes will effect you. Please email. myREC@halifax.ca.

 

What does the Parks and Recreation Fee Structure Review include?

The Fee Structure Review was a comprehensive examination of user fees in facilities, recreation centers, arenas (ice and dry floor), parks, sports fields (natural and all-weather turf), sports courts, ball diamonds, tracks, and pools, which are HRM owned and operated, as well as the arenas operated by Nustadia Recreation Inc. (HRM 4-pad, Bedford 4-pad on behalf of HRM. The fee review provided updated fees for facility rentals, registered programs, memberships, drop ins and vouchers.

What was the purpose of the Fee Structure Review?

To create a standardized recreation user fee structure that is based on the cost of providing a service with an appropriate subsidy. This promotes participation, increase transparency and consistency, while being fair and equitable for all users.

What were the reasons for the Fee Structure Review?
  • Recreation Fees have been frozen since 2011
  • There are currently fee inequities and inconsistencies
  • Some current fees don’t reflect costs
  • Some current fees are well below other organizations
  • No baseline from which subsidies are established
  • Current fees may be undercutting not for profit organizations
What will the implementation of this new Fee Structure allow Parks and Recreation to establish?
  • Consistent principles and criteria to base the administration of the fees
  • Fees that are more consistent, transparent, and equitable.
  • A model that provides a costing baseline to effectively apply subsidies
  • Fees that don’t compete or undercut not for profit organizations
  • Fees which are more aligned with the marketplace
How does the municipality fund its delivery of Parks and Recreation programs and services?

HRM funds its service delivery through the general tax base and user                          charges, therefore, this new Fee Structure is aimed at balancing the costs to deliver the service, the fiscal responsibility to the taxpayer as well and ensuring affordability to the end user.

How were the new Parks and Recreation Fees determined?
Do the changes to the fees pertain to Halifax Regional Centre for                                         Education (HRCE) facilities and/or other partner facilities?
  • No, the new fees only apply to the HRM owned and operated facilities as well as the facilities operated by Nustadia Recreation (RBC 4-pad, Bedford 4-pad and LeBrun Arena) on behalf of HRM.
  • User Fees for Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE) and partner facilities such as Canada Games Center, Zatzman Sportsplex, Eastern Shore Arena etc. are set by the respective facility.
  • The relationship with partner facilities is governed by management agreements with each facility.
  • Some partner facilities may adopt HRM rates but are not required to do so. Under the HRCE Service Exchange Agreement, HRCE sets fees for school rentals annually.
Why are Parks and Recreation required to have an Administrative Order (AO) and By-law for fees?

Administrative Order - Respecting Recreation User Charges

This AO provides direction for staff to develop user charges, classify facilities and services, as well as providing direction for the fees to be maintained /updated moving forward. The AO also formalizes the Affordable Access Program and sets a process for this program and other discounts.

By-law U-106, Respecting the Amendment of By-law U-100,

The User Charges The proposed amendments set out in by-law U-106 expands by-law U-100 by adding two new schedules: one for recreation services (registered programs, memberships, drop ins and vouchers) and one for Recreation facilities (rentals). In adopting these new schedules, Regional Council has set the fees for these services as well as all applicable discounts. Any changes to fees will require Council approval to amend the schedules in the by-law.

What are the highlights of the Fee Structure Review / By-law and the Administrative Order?
  • All new rates will be effective April 1, 2022.
  • All rates listed do not include HST.
  • Subsidization of facility rental user charges will only be considered for youth and community users.
  • There are no additional fees for lighting or electrical in parks, fields etc. Subsidization of facility rental user charges will only be considered for youth and community users.
What are the benefits to the public?

New User Categories - User categories are based on the age group or type of organization. I.e., youth, seniors, students, community groups and corporate.

  • youth mean a person up to and including 18 years
  • adult means a person 19 years to 59 years
  • senior means a person 60 years or older
  • Community means a non-profit co-op, society, or a Canadian registered charity
  • Corporate means a user who is renting on behalf of a for profit business
Consistent subsidization for fee categories For example, the fee structure will ensure that all youth programs across HRM will receive the same subsidy.
 

Reduced risk of unexpected fee increases - HRM’s costs to provide recreation services increase each year by 2% per year due to inflation. This increase will reduce the impact of unexpected and potentially significant fees increases that might be challenging for users to absorb and will also provide predictability to the users.

Predictable five-year review cycle There will be a requirement to undertake an updated analysis of all recreation fees on a five-year cycle. This will help ensure that the user charges continue to be appropriate to the services and relative costs.

More inclusive and affordable programming:

  • Affordable Access Program HRM will be better able to provide recreation to all residents regardless of their income.
  • The Affordable Access program is a subsidy program that offers 50% or 100% discounts to recreation programs for families and individuals who are in financial need.
  • This program eliminates financial barriers for families and individuals to participate in recreation programs.
  • Discounts do not apply to drop-ins, vouchers, facility rentals, birthday parties, private swimming lessons or programs operated by third-party service providers.

Senior discount – Subsidy program for residents sixty years of age and older will receive a 25% discount for registered recreation programs.

Student discount – Subsidy program for students currently enrolled in high school or a post-secondary institution with a valid student identification will receive a 25% discount on membership fees.

Employee discount – Full time permanent and term employees of HRM and members of their immediate family living in the same household will receive a 25% discount on registered recreation programs and memberships. Part time, seasonal, temporary, casual employees during the course of their employment will receive a 25% discount for registered recreation programs and memberships.

Volunteer discount Volunteer fire fighters and Halifax Regional Police volunteers will receive a 25% discount for registered recreation programs and memberships

Overall standardization, consistency, and transparency in application of fees across the municipality. No user charge for Parks that are rented for public events that are open to the public, non-exclusive and free of charge.

Why are corporate fees higher than other categories?

Under the HRM Charter, HRM is not permitted to provide financial support to a business. Corporate rates reflect full cost recovery. Full cost recovery also applies to adult prime rates for ice and all-weather field rentals.