Transportation & Environment Services

Recreation Card Program

Recreation Card - English

What is a Non-Resident User Fee?

A Non-Resident User Fee is a fee charged to users of a municipal facility who do not reside within City limits. Non-Resident User Fee systems are implemented in other municipalities as a means to charge neighbouring residents a fair usage rate to support the operational costs associated with recreational facilities for public use.

Why has the City of Saint John chosen to implement a Non-Resident User Fee?

The reality is that the users of the City’s arenas come from across the region. In fact, about one in every three users is from a neighbouring municipality. City of Saint John residents pay toward arena costs through their annual municipal taxes because arena rentals do not fully recover costs. Non-resident users do not contribute to these outstanding costs through their local taxes.

City taxpayers cannot continue to cover the outstanding costs alone. In order for the arenas to remain open and enjoyed by all users, those living in other areas should contribute, either through their local taxes via a partner agreement, or user fees. Currently no partner agreements are in place for the 2019-2020 season.

The motivation for the non-resident user fee system is fairness. It is not fair for Saint John residents to have a portion of their taxes used to fund arena users from outside the City.

When will the Non-Resident User Fees be implemented?

Non-Resident User Fees will be implemented as a phased approach, beginning in the Fall of 2019.  More details will be provided in the coming weeks.

How will the fee be implemented?

The Non-Resident User Fee will be implemented through the purchase of a City of Saint John Recreation Card. This Recreation Card will be required for use by Regular Arena Users, both City residents and non-resident.

Regular Arena Users are members of associations, leagues or teams who rent ice from the City of Saint John’s four civic arenas (Peter Murray, Charles Gorman, Stewart Hurley and Hilton Belyea) and the Lord Beaverbrook Rink. In other words, Regular Arena Users include all individuals, adults or youth, who regularly use City arenas for their sports and activities.

How do I get a City of Saint John Recreation Card?

Recreation Cards will be made available through the City of Saint John.  More details will be available in the coming weeks.

What do I need to show proof of residency when getting my Recreation Card?

The application form for a Recreation Card will require applicants who are City residents to declare a City of Saint John address as being their primary place of residency to obtain a Recreation Card without paying the Non-Resident User Fee.  Applicants who declare a primary address from outside City limits or who do not declare their place of residency will pay the Non-Resident User Fee.

Applicants, particularly those who are Saint John residents, are strongly encouraged to give informed consent to their league to provide their name and place of primary residence to the City to apply the Non-Resident User Fee or waive the fee for City residents.  We do not want to mistakenly charge City residents the Non-Resident User Fee and providing informed consent to your league will help prevent this from happening.

How long is a Recreation Card valid? Do I need to renew it each year?

Recreation Cards will need to be renewed every year.

Do all City facilities require a recreation card, or just arenas?

Presently, only arenas require a Recreation Card.

How will you ensure that regular arena users have Recreation Cards?

The City of Saint John will use several methods to ensure regular arena users have a card including:
•    Requiring registration with the City
•    Cross-referencing with applicant data that must be provided by leagues and associations who rent ice from the City
•    Possibly spot checks at arenas

How did the City establish the amount for the Non-Resident User Fee?

Every year, City taxpayers contribute to the operating costs for arenas to serve all users. This means that City taxpayers are funding the costs for users who are non-residents (over one in every three users).

The City identified how much it costs City taxpayers to subsidize the over 1 in 3 users who are non-residents (i.e. what a non-resident would need to pay each year so that City taxpayers are not expected to cover the cost for them to use City arenas.)

Saint John Common Council approved Non-Resident User Fees for 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 that do not fully recover 100% of arena operating costs associated with non-residents. Although to a lesser amount, City taxpayers will continue to fund non-resident use of City arenas with the approved 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 Non-Resident User Fees.

Do the Non-Resident User Fees provide funding to help upgrade or replace the City’s aging arenas?

No. Non-Resident User Fees only cover a portion of the operating costs associated to run the City arenas. No funding is currently being put aside now, including from revenues expected from the Non-Resident User Fees, to improve or replace the City’s aging arenas.

Will the Non-Resident User Fee ever be reduced or eliminated?

There is always the potential for the Non-Resident User Fees to be modified if neighbouring towns and districts chose to become facility funding partners.

In an ideal scenario, all arenas from across the Greater Saint John Region would be paid for fairly by all residents in the region through allocation of tax dollars based on usage. This would require all local governments to agree to and establish a partnership and fair approach to funding recreational facilities as regional assets. There are no partner agreements are in place for the 2019-2020 season.

The Saint John Region is unique because various municipalities have arenas.  Where do you find a fair system when taxpayers from outside Saint John already invest in their own arenas through their taxes?

Other locations are similar to the Saint John Region where different local governments maintain recreational facilities but share their use across the region.  Please see the agreement in the Regional District of Nanaimo.

If you don't see the answer to your question about the Recreation Cards or associated Non-Resident User Fees, please so that we can respond to you and post it on this web page.