Sports field fees set for coming years

Toronto City Council has made a decision on user fees for sports fields, after backtracking on a budget item that would have forced non-profit youth sports groups thousands of dollars in unexpected permit fees this year.

An earlier decision delayed implementation of the new fees until 2013, to allow leagues to adjust their pricing. Many of the volunteer-run, non-profit leagues in the city were sent bills after they had already collected fees for the season; many of those costs added up to tens of thousands of dollars.

The Executive Committee recommended fees ranging from $2 per hour up to $6 per hour, depending on the class of the field. When the recommendations went before full council on July 11, some amendments were made.

For 2013, fees will be $1/hour for ‘C’ fields, $2 an hour for ‘B’ fields and $3 an hour for ‘A’ fields, with no charge for concrete dry pads. The fees will double to the recommended rates for 2014, with any future increases to be subject to the User Fee Review process.

Dry pads, used mainly for box lacrosse and ball hockey, are to remain at $0 an hour until some sort of maintenance standard is in place. Fees for other fields are also to be conditional on maintenance standards, which will be reviewed before the 2013 season.

David Breech, president of East Toronto Baseball, said he still believes there should be no field permit fees for youth to play sports.

“An issue to me is the equality of the assessment of fees, and I get back to the dog parks, I get back to City Hall and Harbourfront, the skateboard parks. Nowhere was there any discussion about any of those people paying anything, so why have we targeted these others? To me, it’s a valid question. It comes down to me to a vision of what we want our city to be,” he said. “It’s not about our own self-interest, it’s about the greater community and what you can do to make it better for everybody, not just for yourself.”

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