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Kitimat’s new leisure access program offers a 75 per cent subsidy for persons facing financial barriers

The subsidy will give people facing financial barriers a cheaper opportunity to the leisure programs
a 75 percent subsidy is being offered for those facing financial barriers in accessing leisure service department opportunities. (District of Kitimat file photo)

The District of Kitimat approved an enhancement to the leisure access program and now offers a 75 per cent subsidy on drop-ins for persons facing financial barriers.

This leisure access program will now give people facing financial barriers a cheaper opportunity to take swim lessons, fitness classes, general programs and workshops. The program will also allow individuals access to public sessions such as swimming, skating, open gym, and the weight room at a subsidized rate.

As social services and Kitimat’s Community Development Centre (KCDC) are already adjudicators for people identified as persons who would benefit from the program, the administration will provide the same adjudicating opportunities to the Kitimat Community Services (KCSS), Tamitik Status of Women (TSW), and local sports groups.

Administration will also provide KCDC, TSW, KCSS, and social services leisure access program drop-in tickets to give to clients who have been identified as being persons who would benefit from recreation opportunities.

“Drop-in tickets would simply be a sample for [people adjudicators identify as someone facing financial barriers], so they can immediately access the recreational programs rather than having to wait and set up an account,” Martin Gould, director of leisure services said.

Before the enhancement, subsidy for persons facing financial barriers was originally set as 50 per cent. Council contemplated if they wanted to offer a 100 per cent subsidy, but they agreed that if the drop-in programs are free for persons facing financial limitations, they won’t appreciate the value of the program.

“When you offer something for free, that sense of getting something is lost,” councillor Mario Feldhoff said during Monday’s council meeting.

Councilor Terry Marleau agreed with Feldhoff’s statement and emphasized how there’s not a lot of appreciation for a service if it becomes 100 per cent subsidized and there should be some sort of buy-in even if it’s a small amount.

Currently, there are approximately 127 people that are part of the leisure access program with more looking into the opportunity.

READ MORE: Council approves reduction to leisure services monthly pass rates during COVID-19