Port Moody and Anmore are trying to bridge the gap in recreation fees charged to village residents - and they want their residents' help to do it.
The city and village councils are forming a joint recreation task force and are asking interested residents to join to offer their input on possible solutions to the admission fees dilemma.
Since 2008, Anmore and Belcarra residents have been paying at least twice as much as PoMo, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam residents to use PoMo recreation facilities; currently, an Anmore adult dropping to the rec centre would pay $12.40 compared to $5.90 for a resident, with a one-year membership costing $944 versus the regular rate of $436.30.
PoMo's mayor-elect Mike Clay said the issue goes back about five or six years, when the city tried to form recreation partnerships with the villages, as the municipalities of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows have done.
"At the time, they weren't interested and that's when we decided to pursue the surcharge," Clay said. "We're subsidizing the facilities through our taxes but they're not contributing through their taxes, so it's an unfair subsidy."
Similarly high fees aren't applied to Coquitlam or Burnaby residents, for instance, because there are similar facilities in those cities that PoMo residents can use.
Anmore Mayor Heather Anderson said both councils are open to all suggestions from the task force.
"I do hear from Anmore residents that they're concerned about this, they don't like the fee," she said, noting she has heard from some villagers that they'll travel outside of PoMo to use cheaper facilities.
Clay said the possibilities for the joint task force are a "blank canvas" and both councils are hoping to find a way to work together.
"There's also longer-term joint planning we're looking into as well," Clay added, such as the trail network, bike trails and other parks and recreation matters.
Belcarra hasn't expressed an interest in joining the task force, Clay said, likely because there aren't as many youngsters from that village participating in PoMo programs.
It's hoped that the task force will have some information for the two councils by the spring.
To volunteer for the joint recreation task force, visit www.portmoody.ca/volunteer. The deadline for applications is Dec. 9. Call 604-469-4539 for more information.