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posted February 07, 2008
Published: February 06, 2008
Source: The Star
To read the article in the The Star
Toronto's municipal leaders were busy distancing themselves yesterday from a staff recommendation urging an average 21.5 per cent hike in fees to use city rinks, fields, pools and recreation programs. And no wonder. Thousands of families risk being hit by this cash grab.
What remains unclear is why these startling increases received no mention when the budget was introduced last week.
It's not as if the public weren't interested. The impact of proposed permit fee increases would be felt from baseball diamonds to soccer fields, and by participants in children's swimming classes and adult fitness programs. A double-digit jump in the already high cost of ice time was especially troubling for hockey players and parents.
David Miller was unavailable yesterday, but spokesperson Stuart Green described the mayor as being "uncomfortable with some of the numbers." Changes are expected. "There will be some room to manoeuvre," Green said. "Frankly, there has to be on this one."
Providing recreational opportunities to young and old is a fundamental function of a progressive city. Such programs aren't luxuries; they are important to our well-being, especially with obesity approaching epidemic proportions in Canada.