A proposal that would see the Township of Langley charge non-residents extra to use the new Aldergrove pool got a cautious reception from council Monday afternoon.
The idea was presented by councillor Angie Quaale, who said non-residents currently pay the same fees to use Langley recreational facilities as Township residents, but don’t contribute to their operation by paying property taxes.
Quaale wanted to have Township staff investigate a two-tiered fee structure for the under-construction Aldergrove facility and report back to council.
Charlie Fox expressed doubt, saying it could be seen as treating Aldergrove differently than other facilities.
“We’ve got people from Surrey, Maple Ridge, Abbotsford … playing in our hockey rinks, playing in our sports fields and so on,” Fox said.
Fox said any decision should be delayed to allow detailed discussions involving council and staff at the Council Priorities Committee.
Councillor Bob Long opposed a special out-of-towner fee, calling the proposal “troubling.”
“We haven’t even got the facility built,” Long said.
“Really, we shouldn’t be doing this.”
Councillor Kim Richter said with the exception of Port Moody, any resident of Metro Vancouver can use facilities in any other municipality without paying extra (Port Moody charges residents of Anmore extra to use a recreation centre, a move that has reduced visits and revenue from the other community).
“Council needs to have a much more robust discussion,” Richter said.
Councillor Blair Whitmarsh didn’t see any need for further talks, saying a two-tiered fee schedule should be voted down because it was “not a good idea,” and could cause friction with neighbouring municipalities.
“It causes a lot of difficulty for us in relation to other communities (if this goes ahead),” Whitmarsh said.
Councillor Petrina Arnason was more positive, noting that some areas have successfully used a system that charges non-residents more.
“I think it’s quite a complicated conversation,” said Arnason.
Quaale said the idea deserves further investigation.
“It works really well in other communities,” Quaale said.
“I think it’s worth discussing.”
Council voted to refer the matter for more discussion as Fox suggested, with Long and Whitmarsh voting no. (David Davis was absent).