The majority of membership holders buy a membership because it is required by an activity or sport that they wish their children to participate in. Another small group of individuals buy a membership because they want to rent the hall at a lower rate (and they live in the Duggan area). A few people buy memberships because they want to be a part of the community at a more involved level. Finally there are a group of families and individuals who buy a membership for the tangible benefits they can receive from owning such a card.
The tangible benefits include discounts on City health/leisure facility access and free swimming (at least in Duggan). The swimmers amongst us are quickly able to calculate that after about four (4) free swims, it pays for their membership.
Now for the bad. We are discovering, though, that there are a number of members who are abusing the system – costing our community thousands of dollars. As we have not been a part of the free swim program at Confederation since June (we opted for the outdoor program in the summer for a flat rate), it is interesting to note that the number of swimmers has not dramatically changed at the community swims. I suspect that one or two communities are going to be surprised (as we were) when they get the bill from the City – at the current billing methods used by Confederation (the total bill is divided according to the ratio of people from each community). It is a pity that this practice occurred. After much negotiating with other communities and the City of Edmonton, there is a new billing model that will be tested.
Swimming (which was costing us over $3000 per year – and this year due to the billing cycle of Confederation pool, we were billed over $8,000) will again be available to our members – free and without limitation of family size. The test will begin in November (the 6th) and run until the end of January. THE TIMES HAVE CHANGED: Saturday and Sunday between 4 pm and 5:30 pm. Those taking advantage of this will find that they are required to produce the membership card (not just telling the desk they have one or even recite their card number) and record the number of family members swimming at that time. We will then receive a report from the pool indicating the usage by membership card along with the numbers. If the number of family members is greater than what was registered, that membership card will be revoked. This is unfortunate, but at this time, necessary.
There is a long term swimming objective that is still being negotiated with ALL or most of the community leagues and the City of Edmonton. That model would be based on a flat rate to each community league, with some determined number of hours of swimming per week (typically this has been about 3 hours) and will open the swimming locations to not just one pool, but most of the pools in the City (the exact ones are yet to be determined). Thus, your swimming options will increase and our costs should be predictable and lower. Let’s hope the negotiations run smoothly for the benefit of all communities and their members in Edmonton!
We will be reevaluating whether we keep the free swim times at the YMCA. It is most probably going to stop starting in January.
There are a number of special programs available to community members and to Edmontonians for those whose income is low. These options give access to many City leisure facilities. Contact the office for further information.