Two-way street

Town council seems to be over-thinking what should be a fairly straightforward decision to simplify the corporate rate structure for Memorial Sports Centre memberships.
The current structure involves a somewhat convoluted formula that ranges from a 15-20 percent discount depending on the number of employees with gym memberships. Instead, Community Services manager Jason Kabel is recommending an across-the-board discount of 15 percent for any organization with a minimum of five annual members.
That sparked a lengthy discussion during Monday night’s council meeting on what the corporate rate should be—or even whether one should be offered at all, which led to the decision to put off a decision pending further review.
The real issue here is how to keep the Memorial Sports Centre going. Right now, it is being subsidized by general tax revenue “to the tune of north of $400,000 a year,” which obviously is a burden given the economic woes our community is facing of late.
As such, any and all efforts to increase memberships (which, in turn, will reduce the town’s subsidy) must be explored.
The corporate rate structure may not be perfect, and it isn’t particularly well-used. But it has generated some $40,000 in additional revenue since January, 2013, which prompted Mr. Kabel to rightly challenge anyone on council to come up with a better idea on how to replace that money.
Recreational facilities are key to a vibrant community, both in offering fitness and leisure opportunities to current residents and a means of attracting new people to live here.
If we want to keep them, however, they have to be better utilized. That means more people buying memberships in concert with the town offering a range of affordable rates and top-notch facilities/equipment.
It is a two-way street.