Fate of Township of Springwater Recreation Fee-Agreement with City of Barrie in the Air
By: Dominika Zapolnik, Springwater News Reporter
At its regular meeting of council held on March 1, Township of Springwater Council debated ending the non-resident recreation fee agreement with the City of Barrie. The agreement offers Springwater residents access to City of Barrie recreation services and programs, including swimming, camps, and fitness classes, at the same rates as City of Barrie residents; a savings of 15 per cent normally charged to non-resident users.
During the meeting, there was a lot of back and forth regarding the existing fee agreement that, if continued, would cost the township $345,100 over the next four years.
The three options council considered were:
- Continuing the agreement for the next four years, expiring on February 28, 2027
- Ending the non-resident fee agreement
- Ending the non-resident fee agreement and creating a Township of Springwater subsidy program for township residents using City of Barrie recreational services
Coun. Moore and Coun. Fisher spoke about the importance of the agreement, citing that residents in their respective wards frequently use the City of Barrie facilities. After much discussion, council asked for more information on how many Springwater residents use the recreation services and programs and voted to defer a decision until the next regular meeting of council.
The fee agreement has been in place since 2001 and has been renewed continually since then.
Following the meeting, a staff information report, shared on the township website, shows that “Springwater residents participated in 1,723 program offerings with the City of Barrie in 2022.”
No Mow May Pilot Project to Start in the Township of Springwater in 2023
A No Mow May pilot project is set to begin in the township this year enabling residents to be exempt from the by-laws related to grass cutting on their properties for the month of May. No Mow May is a movement that began in the UK in 2019 that encourages putting lawnmowers away until June to assist bees and other pollinators with food sources after winter. The township Recreation, Parks and Facilities Department will also participate in the project by selecting properties that are less busy and delaying mowing until June 1, 2023. The results of the pilot project will be shared in a report to council following the pilot.
Springwater Township is in good company, joining other municipalities across Canada taking part in this initiative, like the Town of East Gwillimbury.