PoCo sports groups subsidized 65%

Sports user groups in Port Coquitlam were subsidized an average of 65% for their facility rentals in 2011 as part of an effort to balance maintenance and operation costs while keeping community athletics affordable.

A total of 18 sports user groups representing 7,762 athletes rent facilities from the city of PoCo, with the per-person subsidy working out to about $139.

The subsidy numbers and facility usage rates are laid out in a new report that city staff said it will put together on annual basis. The document calculates operating costs for renting out its facilities to sports user groups and compares it with the fees that are collected.

Subsidies vary depending on the sport and what type of facility is being rented.

For example, the PoCo Marlins Swim Club, which booked 1,038 hours in 2011, has an 89.4% subsidy. On the other hand, the PoCo Figure Skating Association, which booked 648 hours, has a 47.9% subsidy.

Adult sports tend to pay more because they pay on average 70% of the facility rental costs while youth sport user groups spend about 50% of the adult rate.

According to Barry Becker, the city's director of parks and recreation, while the city does not have a policy that sets a hard subsidy target, he said he believes the current amounts are balanced.

"What we think we are trying to achieve is a fair and equitable approach through our subsidy," he said. "We think with our policy, we have achieved that."

And while the subsidy works out to just over $1 million for PoCo taxpayers, but it is money well spent, according to Coun. Glenn Pollock, chair of the city's healthy community committee.

"We subsidize sport in the community so we can have a healthy, active community," he said. "We want to get people up and active, and doing things."

Pollock said ideally, the subsidy would be higher but he believes the current 65% is a proper balance. He added money spent on community sports today will save taxpayers in health care costs down the road.


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