Councillor Wants To Form Working Group To Increase Community Gym Use

(Photo credit: Eva Wasney, Canstar) 

Pleased to be moving forward in the formation of a working group with Pembina Trails School Division and the City of Winnipeg to enable more affordable and frequent weekend access of school gymnasiums. I made a presentation to the budget working group on February 28th – and had good dialogue with trustees and administration.  IF your group is looking for weekend gymnasium space – please email and we will put you on our list!

Thank you to the Sou’wester for covering this story.

Lukes challenges division to publicize rental rates

Councillor wants to form working group to increase community gym use

By: Danielle Da Silva               Posted: 03/11/2019 12:03 PM


Pembina Trails School Division will decide this week whether it will join a working group, spearheaded by city councillor Janice Lukes, aimed at increasing the accessibility of weekend gym space in Waverley West.

At the Feb. 28 divisional board meeting, Coun. Lukes (Waverley West) appeared as a delegation, requesting Pembina Trails budget a pilot program to reduce and publicize weekend rental rates for gymnasium space in École South Pointe School, Whyte Ridge School, and Chancellor School.

“I said, the City, my ward wants to work with you Pembina Trails, to figure out how we can open up the gyms on weekends at a more affordable rate,” Lukes said.

Lukes said there is a dearth of gym space available to community members in the ward and was dismayed when she found out some gyms in Pembina Trails see little usage on the weekend.

She believes the reason is rental rates for the facilities are not readily available on the Pembina Trails website and are cost-prohibitive.

According to officials with the division, the base cost for a two-hour Saturday rental permit is $189.13, or $45.03 an hour. That price tag includes one hour to open and close the facility, one hour of cleaning, and GST. Cleaning fees can vary based on the nature of facility use, estimated time required, and which staff members are scheduled for that date. The minimum booking time is one hour, and on weekdays when staff are already in the building, the cost is free.

Lukes wants to see a standardized rate schedule after receiving a quote from the division for a Saturday rental at $345.79. The correspondence with the division, Lukes said, implied a minimum four-hour rental. She said that does not fall in line with other metro school divisions.

“The bottom line is the gymnasiums are publicly funded facilities, so when I look at their use on weekends, and I see they’re not being used, and I look at a place like Seven Oaks that’s booked solid, something is not right and we have to figure this out.

“I’ve kind of reached the end of line,” she continued. “I have dozens of groups calling me. Our community centre space is booked.”

Lukes said she may be prepared to offer support from her office by way of co-ordinating ice time at community centres in exchange for gym time at the schools. The details of such an arrangement would be ironed out in the working group, she said.

Pembina Trails superintendent Ted Fransen said the board of trustees will consider the proposal at its March 13 board meeting, and insisted the board is committed to making spaces available to the public.

“As a responsible public body, we believe that we need to maintain our facilities for the public good, so when we’re passing on the cost of caretakers, we’re actually discounting the cost of the school building,” he said.

“We’re not passing on utilities, water consumption… All we’re passing on is the cost of the caretaker. So it’s a heavily discounted rate as it is.”

Fransen said the division’s rates are in line with other local facilities, and the board will consider posting rental rates publicly in the future.

“We’ve had very few requests for weekend rentals,” Fransen said. “People call and we give them the rates, and it’s worked quite well until now.”