Finding a little stress relief at a time of economic uncertainty is going to cost a whole lot more this year in Woolwich Township, where recreation fees will rise an average of eight per cent.
Other fees for such services as zone change amendments and building inspections will increase about three per cent, closer to the falling inflation rate.
A new schedule of fees and charges was approved Tuesday night after a brief discussion by Woolwich councillors. All increases are effective immediately, except for arena rates, which come into effect at the beginning of next season.
Primetime ice rentals, for instance, will jump to $175.24 per hour from $161.90, up 8.2 per cent. Similar price increases are slated for rentals of ball diamonds and soccer pitches.
At the Elmira pool, costs are also up in the eight or nine per cent range, with a family now facing a charge of $8.81 for a day’s swim rather than $8.49, for instance. The biggest change is for children under six, however. Previously admitted free, a single ticket will cost $1.19 and range up to $38.09 for a book for 40 tickets.
The three-per-cent jump for services from the planning and engineering departments come after some major increases last time around as the township sought to bring its prices in line with other communities.
Requesting an official plan amendment, for instance, now costs $4,120, up from $4,000 – it was $1,500 two years ago. This year’s largest increase comes for applicants seeking a zone change to allow for a gravel pit: the price jumps to $8,000 from $5,000.
Director of planning and engineering Dan Kennaley said he expects further large increases to better reflect the amount of staff time required to study such applications. He pointed to the Region of Halton Hills, where such applications come with a $100,000 price tag, though noting that includes the cost of peer-reviewed studies; Woolwich requires such studies be carried out by the applicant, typically at a cost of about $30,000.
All of the fee hikes, including those well above inflation on the recreation side, reflect the township’s rising costs to provide the services, said director of finance Richard Petherick.