By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Dec 12, 2013
No outdoor activity beats the fun and affordability of soccer and baseball for Bri Oliver’s three boys, Cooper, Noah and Miller.
The family pays close to $350 in registration fees for the boys to play the season for both baseball and soccer.
“Why does the district want to profit from sports that keeps our kids active.” –Bri Oliver
There are other costs, but still manageable when compared to the benefits: healthy, active kids forging friendships in the community.
But a new district fees could act as a spoilsport, making soccer and baseball unaffordable for families like the Olivers; Until now, youth sports had been exempt from the fees..
Exact numbers on the fees increase has yet to be determined. A clear picture will emerge when the draft Recreation & Parks Fees & Charges Policy and bylaw will go before council on January 14.
Sources, however, say the district could charge anywhere from $6 per hour per field for baseball to $6-10 for soccer.
It seems like a small amount, but it will add to thousands of dollars once the season is over for both sports.
Bri Oliver is worried and upset.
“This is so wrong,” Oliver said.
“Why does the district want to profit from sports that keeps our kids active.”
Bri Oliver fears the new fees and charges might increase the registration fees, and other costs of playing the sports for her boys.
And if the fees increased over years, the family might face a tough choice on who plays and where.
The decision would ripple through many families like the Olivers.
Speaking for the Howe Sound Minor Ball Association, Pauline Skiffington said the new fees and charges could cost the association an approx. $2,000 in the first year.
The association would have to raise its sponsorship fees or ask families to pay more for registration.
The association has existed as a non-profit for 40 years, using the registration and sponsorship fees for rentals, equipment, awards, etc.
Pauline’s fears of a substantial fees increase in the coming few years is shared by the local soccer association.
“Is taxing youth sports with this new fees the best way to generate more district revenue ?”– Tim Sjogren
There are close to 1,000 kids playing soccer in Squamish in different age groups. The registration fee is close to $100 for a full season, a relatively affordable amount.
And yet, there are families out there who find it difficult to afford even that money.
Every year there are families applying for a concession on registration fees, soccer association says.
There are no hard numbers yet, but the new fees could easily burden the association with $5,000 or more, said the president of Squamish Youth Soccer, Tim Sjogren.
“We have no concrete figures yet, and there is no clarity on the issue,” said Sjogren.
Like the baseball association, the soccer associstion worries it’s the beginning, not the end of user fees.
By implementing this new fee, the district will only end up punishing families trying to keep their children active, Sjorgen said. He urged the district to take a good hard look at what they are proposing.
“Is taxing youth sports with the fees the best way to generate revenue ?” he asked.