Vernon recreation services increase fees, reduce hours for 2021 – Vernon News

Rec fees rise, hours reduced

Vernon Recreation Services will be moving forward with operations and programming, but on a smaller scale.

As part of the 2021 budget discussions, city staff and council agreed to take a middle-of-the-road approach on keeping Recreation Services operational. Out of the five tiers outlined in the proposal, tier three was chosen as the department’s plan for next year.

Tier three outlines a modified service level, which includes reduced aquatic centre and arena hours of operation. Fees will also be increasing by five per cent, along with cuts to staff training and advertising.

These cuts are undeniably directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a major impact on the recreation department.

“The pandemic has been really tough on our staff,” says Doug Ross, director of Recreation Services. “This tier three plan would help our staff and allow us to continue operations for the community.”

Vernon city council agreed to contribute $249,733 to Recreation Services, which will potentially come out of the COVID-19 recovery fund that was granted by the province. That is all contingent based on how Recreation Services’ partners choose to pay their $115,374 share.

The Centennial outdoor rink will not be reopening this year, which will likely result in some savings for the recreation department. Council voted to allow Recreation Services to use any savings from the Centennial rink closure to use at their discretion.

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