By Chad Ingram
Algonquin Highlands council will look at creating an annual rental fee for its facilities as it reviews and re-establishes its recreation hall rental fees.
Parks rec and trails director Dave Drobitch brought a report on fees before councillors at their Oct. 1 meeting.
Having completed a comparative analysis with similar-sized venues in other townships Drobitch had recommendations for fees at the Stanhope Firefighters’ Community Hall the Dorset Rec Centre and Oxtongue Lake Community Centre.
“I think we’ve whittled it down to where we can see a bit more of a comparison” Drobitch said.
Fees have risen over the years and Drobitch’s report referenced public feedback that fees that had been set in 2014 were too high.
In many cases his recommendation was a lowering of fees.
At the Dorset Rec Centre for example his recommendation was to drop the daily max rate for a small private or non-profit function from $250 to $100 and for a commercial function with the provision of alcohol from $300 to $225.
For the upper floor of the hall at Stanhope the recommendation was for the daily max rate for small function to drop from $80 to $75 and for a commercial function from $200 to $175.
Councillor Lisa Barry said she thought the township should institute an annual fee for groups that use the halls on a weekly or biweekly basis.
“Almost like a membership” Barry said. “I think that’s a consideration.”
At Club 35 at Halls Lake which the township will close at the end of this month the tradition has been for the group of seniors who play cards there to give the township a yearly donation in exchange for use of the facility.
Last year that donation was for $1200.
That group will be moving its card games to the hall in Stanhope.
“If you set up an annual fee per se there are so many variables” Drobitch said including how long and how often facilities were being used.
He said such a fee would require a minimum amount of facility usage per year.
While Reeve Carol Moffatt and Councillor Marlene Kyle were of the mindset that a fee structure is a fee structure Councillor Brian Lynch and Deputy-reeve Liz Danielsen supported Barry’s idea of an annual fee.
“I’d like to see us work something out like that” Danielsen said.
Drobitch was instructed to work on an annual fee framework and bring it back to council.