Council shuts down increased costs for summer camps

A resolution to increase the cost of travelling summer day camps from $2 to $5 was voted down by council at its June 8 meeting.

In a memo, John Burrows, director of recreation for the City of Thompson, told council fees have not increased in the past four years, and they’re currently running at a loss.

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The current set-up, with two camp counsellors being paid $12.85 per hour for seven hours, costs the city $179.90 a day, which does not include staff benefits or the cost of craft materials. With 20 participants, at $2 a session for two sessions a day, the city is bringing in $80 a day.

Increasing the fees would help the recreation department break even with 20 participants, but councillors did not support the idea. Coun. Judy Kolada wanted to know why such a big increase, and Coun. Colleen Smook said this would take away the camp experience for a lot of children. “If we have an average of families with three children their costs will go from $12 a day to $30 a day. Some of the disadvantaged kids, or the lower-income families, I think this is going to put it out of their realm of being able to bring the kids to camp.”

Coun. Ron Matechuk, Smook and Kolada opposed the fee increase, while Coun. Duncan Wong and deputy mayor Penny Byer voted in favour. Mayor Dennis Fenske, Coun. Blake Ellis, Coun. Dennis Foley, and Coun. Kathy Valentino were not at the meeting.

The resolution is now off the table, and will go back to the recreation and community services committee for continued discussions and a new plan of action.

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