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Star media: sports field permits - April 2, 2012

04-Apr-2012 [1127]

• Toronto sports leagues make 11th-hour attempt to have city defer new fees


By: Patty Winsa
Published: April 02, 2012

Sports leagues sidelined by the city’s new fees for playing fields will have a chance to air their views Tuesday night at a town hall.

The meeting is an 11th hour attempt to persuade councillors to defer implementing permit fees until at least next year. Coaches, volunteers and parents are invited to the public meeting.

“The sports organizations in the City of Toronto have been quite surprised and upset about the fact that the city is imposing new user fees for sports fields arising out of the 2012 budget,” said Councillor Janet Davis, who filed a motion last month to have city staff look at ways to reduce the impact.

“Some of them received bills for tens of thousands of dollars for fields that up until this point have been free for children and youth.”

Volunteer sports organizations want the charges for 2012 waived altogether. A staff report outlining ways to help leagues offset the fees goes to council April 10, but there is no indication that the report will recommend deferring the fees until next year. Instead, it could outline flexible payment plans or how leagues can reduce costs

Volunteer sports organizations, most of which have already registered players for spring/summer leagues, had little notice of the new charges, which were buried deep within the budget passed by council in January. The additional fees would be passed down to players.

The Toronto Sports Council wants the charges waived for the 2012 season because of the short notice and have started an online petition

“Families can’t afford the increase, which will be roughly $120 a child,” says Jack Brown, a member of the sports council which is a non-profit advocate for sport across the city. “We’re trying to get the councillors to reopen the budget and look at this one line item — which is user fees.”

Council will review the staff report at the April meeting. The fees could come up for debate if two-thirds of council votes to reopen the budget.

Read this article on The Star website.

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