An email that was sent out last week to patrons of Genesis Place regarding fee increases that will be enacted on September 1 of this year has some residents wondering if they can afford to utilize the facility come this fall.
Airdronian Falyn Kuzoff was one of many who received the email. Though the news of prices increasing didn't take her by surprise, the amount of the increase did.
"I know, I'm not the only one that thought, 'what?'. It's not just a $5 increase," she said. "I'm on maternity leave, so I use the facility a lot. I go back to work in September and that's going to cut down on my available time. I have to figure out if it's justified to continue paying for a membership for something I'm going to be using a lot less."
According to the email that was sent, "On April 4, 2022, City Council endorsed the motion to move all fee categories to market average rates. This fee increase brings Genesis Place in line with the market average when compared to similar multi-use facilities within a 30-minute driving radius of our facility including the YMCA of Calgary, City of Calgary multi-use facilities, Vivo, Repsol and Spray Lakes in Cochrane."
The single largest fee increase will be for families who use the continuous monthly pass. The family pass will rise to $136.25/month in September, a price hike of $25.50. Currently, the price for a continuous family passes $110.75/month. Other increases include the adult continuous monthly pass; with the price rising to $72.75. Currently, the pass is $58.25/month.
Students will also be seeing prices rise. Currently, students pay $42.75/month for a continuous pass. In September they will be paying $60.75/month. Virtually all fees will be increased, save for infants and preschoolers (ages 0 - 5 years) as well as Airdrie Seniors (aged 80 and above).
"One of the nice things about Genesis is that it's convenient, but when it's no longer affordable, convenience doesn't mean anything," Kuzoff said.
She noted that residents are starting to wonder if commuting to Calgary and using the facilities there would ultimately be cheaper. However, Airdrie's recreational center compared its own fees to that of other regional multi-use facilities, using annual pass comparison and annualized rates displayed monthly. While Airdrie is more affordable in comparison to Calgary, the fee differences are quite small.
After she received the email, Kuzoff set up a poll on social media to gauge how others feel about the increases. Out of 684 people who participate in the poll, approximately 70 per cent stated that while they would love to continue using the facility, they will no longer be able to afford it in the near future.
"With the rate of gas prices increasing and groceries going up, something's going to have to give. $73 a month for a membership, that I can only use about probably 60 per cent less than I do now? It's hard to justify," she said. "Maybe if the entire world wasn't going up in prices, it'd be a lot easier to swallow. If they had done these price increases a couple of years ago, when gas was cheaper, houses were cheaper and everything was cheaper, it would have been a lot easier. It's almost like they waited a little too long."
According to the correspondence sent by Genesis Place, they state that "Aligning our costs to market prices allows us to maintain our facilities and level of service at a high quality, now and in the future."
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