Concerns over charges at council leisure centres

CHANGES to charges at leisure facilities in Fermanagh are set take place this spring.
A list of changes will see some prices shift, for example a shower for a child jump by 66% at the Lakeland Forum.
Lengthy debate at the Council’s regeneration and community committee last Tuesday saw Councillors question the framework and method of calculation for cost changes.
Councillor Donal O’Cofaigh expressed concern that some price increases are greater than the rate of inflation.
Cllr O’Cofaigh drew attention to the Bawnacre increase for youth fitness suite individual session of approximately 20 percent. “Dotted right the way through the report there are increases like that. There are some decreases which are welcome,” he added, “I am wondering why we need to increase anything more than the rate of inflation?”
A Council director explained that the Council had previously tried to follow a policy related to inflation. “The difficulty with that is we end up with pennies and 5ps and councillors rightly questioned are we going to charge some £1.05, so various things haven’t been increased in some years.”
Cllr O’Cofaigh said this might make sense at one level. He referred back to an increase in concession rates at the Bawnacre to £176. “No one could suggest that is a round figure. We should be attempting to keep down prices for access to leisure facilities.”
Cllr Adam Gannon added, “A couple of decreases are good, but I think that is going to be more than offset by the introduction of cost of classes. I believe classes were complimentary or there was a very small fee before as it says N/A, suggesting no charge. These have gone up to £3 and £4. If you are someone who uses the membership mainly for that purpose you are talking about doubling or tripling your membership fee per month if you are paying for those classes now.”

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