The Greater Trail Stingrays are facing a drop in membership, thanks in large part to Rossland swimmers being driven away by Trail’s Recreation Program (TRP) fee.
In previous years, the Stingray Club has found a way to cover the extra cost for Rossland swimmers, but this year parents will have to pay.
“Historically we’ve been covering that, and eating the cost, or getting some of it back from the Rossland city council,” explains Sean Miller, president of the club, “and we determined as an executive that we couldn’t do that anymore.”
In a catch-22, the drop in membership has resulted in less funding for the organization, since its main source of revenue is registration fees. The revenue pays for expenses like coaches’ salaries, regional equipment, and lane rentals in Trail, Rossland, and Warfield.
The extra fee is $347 for each Rossland swimmer, and in the past that amount has been reimbursed to the club by the City of Rossland, but the club missed applying for that reimbursement the past couple of years.
“We didn’t [apply for reimbursement] for a couple of years for various internal reasons, and then we applied for it retroactively,” says Miller. “Rossland had cut down the amount of money they had set aside for it, and so through lots of talking and helpful discussions we’ve had most of what we owed for TRP covered, but the club has had to eat some of it.”
For the summer, the club only charged Rossland swimmers an additional $100, covering the other $247 with its own revenue. But starting in September, parents will have to pay the whole fee, which Miller believes will lead to a further drop in membership.
“We probably will have almost zero swimmers,” he says.
The club is in talks with Trail and Rossland to solve the problem, but Miller says if the talks are unsuccessful, they are considering other options.
“If we need to, we’ll either shut the club down for the fall, or we’ll and try to rent lanes in Castlegar,” says Miller.