The cost of using Mid Ulster District Council’s health, leisure and wellbeing facilities looks set to be frozen following a recommendation from the local authority’s development committee.
At a meeting of the committee, members were advised officers believe a price freeze is the best way forward for the April 2023 – March 2024 charging period.
Under these proposals, the price of an adult gym membership is £29.95 a month, with a yearly membership costing £395.40.
An adult swim in the council’s pools will cost £3.75 while a family swim (consisting of two adults and two children or one adult and three children) will cost £10.
However, it is noted that further analysis is required for several activities with the cost of one-to-one swimming lessons, gymnastics, dance, Tobermore Golf Centre memberships and personal training within fitness suites to be considered at a later date.
Similarly the report notes that in March 2017, members agreed a zero fee for the grant, renewal or variation of a pavement café licence and that such licences would be granted for a period of one year.
The planned review of this decision was postponed due to the pandemic and remains outstanding so options will be brought back to a future committee meeting.
Speaking at the meeting, council’s assistant director of health, leisure and wellbeing Kieran Gordon advised the rate at which council’s rooms are hired is also under review, with discussion currently being held in private about the matter.
Councillor Dan Kerr proposed the recommendation to approve the scale of charges for 2023/24 and the proposal was seconded by Councillor Walter Cuddy who asked if the overall income from leisure centres had stayed the same in 2022/23 as it was in 2021/22.
“The 2020/21 year was a challenging period for us all and income did drop with a number of closures that year due to Covid-19 restrictions,” replied Mr Gordon.
“However, the 2021/’22 year and the 2022/’23 year are on a par. It is gradually recovering though it is not quite at pre Covid-19 peak.
“It is steady and will meet the revised income projections as a result of this year’s [2022/23] rates but that will be continually under review.
“We are going to have to keep it under review but hopefully the freezing of the charges will go some way to maintain the confidence and affordability factor for the citizens of the district.”
Councillor Dominic Molloy said he had no problem with the proposal to approve the recommendation but told the chamber that when considering the price of room hire, pricing slightly lower may prove more effective.
“It is just about striking that balance to ensure the price of room hire and facilities are set at the right rate,” he said.