LAMBTON SHORES — The cost of playing or partying at municipally owned and operated properties will rise anywhere from two per cent to 15 per cent in each of the next five years. Excused from the host of upward adjustments are folks who launch or dock boats and those who hold special community events on Grand Bend’s beach.
After experiencing two years of universally applied annual two per cent hikes in recreation fees, the community services department has conducted a ‘comprehensive review’ that included a survey of 15 other municipalities and proposed a five-year schedule “to help bring Lambton Shores’ rates in line with the average of other municipalities.”
“Increases are, for the most part, modest,” director Steve McAuley told council’s Sept. 5 meeting. And apparently members agreed as they adopted his report and its extensive chart of changes without controversy.
Illustrating that users of recreation facilities are bearing only a portion of the costs, McAuley reported that all taxpayers have subsidized operations in a range of $296,400.11 to $486,426.39 per year from 2012 to 2013. For 2016, tax bills picked up a $359,994.98 share of an overall expense tab of $1,478,025.
The community services report excludes the costs of maintaining parks, which have few facilities charging user fees. The director underlines heavy burdens at the two arenas in which ice surface and concrete pad costs alone have increased by 53 per cent at the Shores Recreation Centre in Forest and 33 per cent at the Legacy Recreation Centre in Thedford since 2012, with hydro costs leaping by 60 per cent at Shores and 38 per cent at Legacy in that period.
However, ice rentals are in the two per cent end of the package of annual increases that take effect Jan. 1, 2018. Also in the 2 per cent hike bundle are rentals of small community halls, kitchen and bar rentals, large community halls’ per hour, daily and weekend rental rates, gymnasium hourly rates and small meeting room hourly rates.
Facing five per cent annual increases are baseball diamond hourly use and tournament fees. Five per cent boosts will also apply to per-day rates for picnics and reunions at pavilions,
A 15 per cent annual increase will be applied to regular hours rates at soccer fields. That magnitude of additional fees will also impact hourly rates at pavilions for active living programs such as yoga and the Grand Bend Rotary Community Stage.
Grand Bend beach community event daily rentals will remain at current levels — $258.40 without the use of hydro and $297.25 with the use of hydro — for the next five years “unless there is a change in operations, which will require further analysis of these rates.” Harbour boat launch and dockage fees also will be unchanged for the next five years.
Mollard Line forcemain tender awarded
Lambton Shores council officially granted Grand Bend Area Joint Sewage Board’s ‘request’ to award the tender for replacement of the failed section of the Mollard Line forcemain (leading to the treatment plant) to Birnam Excavating Ltd. in the amount of $732,984.36 (incl. HST). Final cost will be split on a 50-50 basis between Lambton Shores and South Huron and will be determined for inclusion in 2018 budgets.
With the exception of the restoration of the road and ditches, the project is to be finished by mid-November with the remainder required to be completed by June 30, 2018.
Birnam, based in Warwick Township, submitted the lowest of seven bids which ranged to a high of $1,078,392.90.
Zoning bylaw amendments completed
Council at its Sept. 5 session passed bylaws that implement zoning changes for the Grand Bend Developments residential and commercial subdivision proposal at 74 Main St. E. and for Rus-ton Family Campground at 9787 Lakeshore Rd. (Highway 21). The Grand Bend project was described in detail in the July 5 Times-Advocate and updated in the Sept. 6 edition.
Owner of the Rus-ton property, between Greenway Road and Cold Storage Road, wins a new site-specific commercial zoning that permits a second permanent dwelling with a site plan agreement and requirement that a 1.8-metre-high solid wood fence be installed along the north lot line to address a neighbour’s privacy concerns.