An open letter to the Mayor, Councillors and staff at the Township of Langley:
I want bring to your attention an issue with lack of affordable youth pricing in the Township of Langley.
When the rate adjustment regarding the new Otter Coop Outdoor Experience (OCOE) was voted on last Council meeting, I wondered why there was no thoughts towards making our recreation centres more affordable and accessible to Aldergrove youth.
Upon doing research, I feel that the Township is behind in this issue and I would like to see it addressed.
A recent report by Stats Canada shows that “physical activity is associated with a range of physical, mental and social health benefits for children and youth.”
Guidelines published by the World Health Organization and by several countries recommend that children and youth accumulate a “minimum of 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) per day, and advocate engagement in vigorous-intensity physical activity, as well as muscle- and bone-strengthening activities, at least three times per week.”
Examples of other municipalities that offer either free or reduced rates to their local youth and children:
City of Delta
For students in grades 5 to 8, for $5 administration fee with certificate and proof of residence in the City of Delta.
https://delta.civicweb.net/document/136930 (refers to pass on page 7)
City of Surrey
All 8 outdoor pools in the city are free to all residents during the summer.
The City of Surrey also offers a MY Fun pass for kids aged 2 to 12. The cost is $11 per month.
City of Maple Ridge
Two options are available (depending on their age), one for kids and one for teens.
Kids Summer Fun Pass is $20 and was valid between June 28 to September 3 last year (3Y-12Y).
The Teen Summer Active Pass was $30 and had the same host of benefits.
A pass holder can bring along another youth, young adult or adult at a reduced family admission rate each time they use the facilities including unlimited drop-in skating, swimming or open gym sessions.
City of Maple Ridge
The city’s Greg Moore Youth Centre offers free (indoor) skateboarding as well as rock climbing.
City of Port Moody
Unlimited $20 summer drop-in pass, which is valid from June 18 to Sept. 3, for youths 16 to 18 years of age.
The pass gives them access to all drop-in fitness classes as well as unlimited access to a weight room, so long as they have completed teen weight room orientation.
These are just a few of the cities that offer such passes and discounts, either year round or just for the summer – I would like to see Township of Langley put something affordable in place for Aldergrove youths.
It’s unfortunate that it’s even a consideration to raise rates for youth in one of the lower income areas of the Township (being the Aldergrove’s OCOE water park areas.
Statistics show that Walnut Grove residents whose average income (according to 2016 Census) was $51, 555 will only experience a 3 per cent increase in swimming fees.
Yet, in Aldergrove (according to 2016 Census), where the average income is $39,391 yearly, residents are expected to pay 50 per cent higher rates to use our water park during Summer months. If the price increase is put forth it will essentially leave the youth in our community without incentive to stay active and busy.
I suggest the Township offer a reasonably priced summer pass, similar to that of the City of Port Moody, with access to swimming, water park areas, the weight room and eventually drop-in fitness classes and yoga.
A year round pass similar to that of the City of Delta’s would be an even better option.
This letter is to promote conversation between Township staff, the Mayor, Council members and our community and bring us closer together to learn how best to support our youth, before any final adoption of the bylaw.
I hope that in the future, any decisions that may negatively impact the community are brought to public consultation before being passed.
Pam Alzona, Aldergrove