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Media Release - Low income recreation assistance program expands

Revamping of the recreation financial assistance program will provide more recreational opportunities for community members in the low-income spectrum.

 

Under the old program, people on social assistance and their resident family members were eligible for 20 passes per year to the Powell River Recreation Complex. Under new program guidelines, those eligible for the program will receive one admission per week, or 52 per year.

 

Additionally, the program has been expanded beyond those receiving social assistance. Now, Powell River region residents that have incomes meeting the Statistics Canada Low Income Measure (LIM) guidelines will also be eligible for the recreation financial assistance program and will receive the 52 passes. Again, the program will be available for all family members living in the home of the qualifying applicants.

 

This program is not only for young families. It is also for seniors living on fixed incomes. The new program is designed to address a whole bunch of issues relating to recreation accessibility.

 

Neil Pukesh, Manager of Recreation, said the Parks, Recreation and Culture Department learned through the Expanded Regional Recreation Initiative Study (ERRIS) that there are barriers to making use of the city’s recreation facilities, programs and services, and the biggest one is financial.

 

“It’s our way of addressing low-income financial barriers,” he said. “This expands the reach and also addresses the need for health and wellness by more than doubling the admissions people will receive.”

 

Pukesh said the recreation department examined 11 other communities in British Columbia and found that “we were considerably behind the ball.”

 

“So many other communities in BC are doing this and we felt that we needed to make some major improvements to the program,” he said. “We felt with our initiative to become one of the healthiest and most active communities, this has to be addressed, and we feel this is going to be one of the tools that helps get us there”.

 

“We believe it is going to expand the outreach of the program. It addresses those families that are working hard and living within their means but don’t always have the financial means for recreational activities. We heard that loud and clear in the ERRIS report.”

 

To further address financial barriers in the community, the parks and recreation department has also begun to include more low cost/no cost opportunities, such as the monthly United Way Family Free Swims and the continued roll out of toonie public skating. The department has recently opened a disc golf course in Wildwood, with another slated for Westview, so efforts are being made to encourage outdoor recreation.

 

For the financial assistance program, those who are on social assistance will continue to go through the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, fill out an application form and then drop it off at the recreation complex.

 

Those who qualify under the LIM will come into the Recreation Complex and meet with a designated staff member. The applicant will bring in their T4 slip from the previous year and if they fall under the LIM guidelines they will be approved. Confidentiality is assured.

 

Proof of residency is also part of the application process so a BC Drivers Licence or a bill such as hydro or telephone, listing an address, is required. The program is open to anyone living within in the Powell River region, not just the city.

 

 

For more information, contact:

Neil Pukesh, Manager of Recreation

(604) 485-8904

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

Event date: 
Thursday, November 2, 2017 - 2:00pm

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