Maulers’ request sparks fee reduction debate

For the RDEK, the team's application for a fee reduction became a debate about how they can better serve non-profits.

The Cranbrook Mountain Town Maulers roller derby squad are pictured in action against the Invermere Killer Rollbots May 12

All the Mountain Town Maulers want to do is skate, but for the Regional District of East Kootenay, the team’s application for a fee reduction became a debate about how they can better serve non-profits.

The local roller derby team submitted an application to the RDEK to have their hourly fee for use of the Dave Henderson Pavilion at the Wycliffe Exhibition Grounds continue at $10 per hour.

Fee restructuring has set the Mauler’s facility use fee at $20 per hour for the 2013 season. The team would like to see the fee continue the way it is.

“We understand that the fees have been restructured for the New Year and appreciate your decisions behind that,” wrote Maulers team member Theresa Prysko.

At Friday’s RDEK meeting, the board denied the request to lower the fee for the team, but amended the motion to encourage the women to apply for a grant in-aid to help them cover costs.

Director Gerry Taft said the use of the Pavilion, regardless of how much is charged per hour, is a bonus for the RDEK as it generally sits unused save for a few special events every year. Taft also pointed out that the RDEK supports hockey and figure skating, and should support all recreation activities evenly.

“When a new type of recreation comes forward we nickel and dime them,” he said.

Board chair Rob Gay brought up the roller derby team’s commitment to volunteering in the community, and their efforts to clean up the Wycliffe Exhibition Grounds.

“They volunteer to do some clean-up for us,” he said.

Gay pointed out that any volunteer work the team wants to do should be encouraged.

Director Mary Guiliano, who is mayor of Fernie, said her community has greatly benefitted from the actions of its roller derby team, the Avalanche City Roller Girls.

“They offer something that’s really good for the community,” Guiliano said.

Taft said there was absolutely no cost to the taxpayers for the use of the Pavilion, as it sits empty most of the time anyway.

In their application, the Mountain Town Maulers said they have enjoyed the use of the facility.

“We would like to thank you for the last couple months’ use of the facility,” wrote Prysko. “We have enjoyed our time in there and look forward to working with you and utilizing the space in the 2013 year.”

They also said they wish to use the facility year-round for team practice, adding training days in the off-season to keep their skills sharp.

“During the off season we continue team skating to keep our agility and conditioning, this is very important for our safety,” Prysko wrote. “We have been lucky to have sporadic availability during the off season in the local school gyms the past two years as well.”

Director Bob Whetham suggested it might be time to look at the fee structure for not-for-profits, to see it the RDEK can support them more, or offer reduced rates.

But Area A director Mike Sosnowski said reducing the fees for one facility would be unfair to the rest of the taxpayers throughout the regional district who pay into the pot.

“I just want a little fairness,” he said.

The motion was eventually put forward to oppose the application for fee reduction, with Taft, Gay, director Ron McRae and director Jane Walter voting against it. The board did amend the motion and decided to send a letter to the Mountain Town Maulers to encourage them to apply for a Grant in Aid.

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