For about a dozen ladies who attend the morning aquacise classes at the Humboldt Aquatic Centre (HAC), the increase in user rates at the pool put into effect the week of July 30 came as a shock.
“We weren’t even notified that it was going to go up,” said Brenda Curtis of Humboldt, who spoke for the group. “We were more than a little upset that they hadn’t done due diligence.”
The ladies were so upset when confronted with the new rates approved by City Council that they decided collectively to bring a petition against the City. The next day when they met again at the pool, each one left armed with a form to fill with names.
“The plan is to take the petitions to the next City Council meeting August 27,” explained Curtis.
For many of these women, the daily aquacise classes are the form of exercise they have found best suited to their needs and abilities. One of the ladies who attends the classes regularly said “it’s not for recreation – it’s for health reasons – be it weight control, or blood pressure,” while another remarked that with her arthritis, she couldn’t do any other form of exercise that didn’t aggravate the joints in her body.
“A lot of the ladies are seniors and can’t afford the increased rates,” added Curtis. “Some of them come five times a week.”
The rates went from $4 to $5 for a drop-in fee, or an increase of 25 per cent. The monthly fee of unlimited classes for $36 is now no longer available, and has been replaced by a 30-punch card valid for two months. The new rate of $135 means a stiff increase of approximately 150 per cent for the initial outlay, although the cost per class works out to $4.50.
“We were told that those rates were still cheaper than any place in the province,” Curtis said. “So we got on the phone and called around, and they’re not.”
According to their websites, rates at the Northern Lights Palace in Melfort are $5.50 for drop-ins, and $4.50 for senior citizens over 60. At the Recplex in Tisdale, drop-in fees are $4.50 for adults, $3.50 for children, and a 10-punch card is $40.50.
In the meantime, the City is reviewing the rate hike for Aquacise and Lane swimming. HAC has dropped its rates back to the old ones for those activities until a decision is finalized. Staff at the HAC noted the same rates have been in effect now for about three or four years.