Leisure access program means more fun for everyone

Ladysmith making recreation affordable to low-income earners

Seniors pack the shallow end during a Wednesday morning adaptive fitness class at Frank Jameson Community Centre. Low-income earners can sign up for this and other classes at reduced rates through Ladysmith’s leisure access program.

Seniors pack the shallow end during a Wednesday morning adaptive fitness class at Frank Jameson Community Centre. Low-income earners can sign up for this and other classes at reduced rates through Ladysmith’s leisure access program.

Recreation is not for everyone.

But a Town of Ladysmith program is doing its best to make sure it is for everyone who wants it.

About 100 individuals and families took advantage of Ladysmith’s Leisure Access Program last year, an ongoing program that makes recreation more affordable for the community’s low-income earners.

Those who qualify can essentially use the pool, sign up for yoga class, or access any of the town’s many other recreation opportunities for about half-price.

Parks and rec manager Clayton Postings said the program has been in place for a long time and has proven to be effective.

“It’s fairly well-utilized,” Postings said. “Basically, individuals apply and demonstrate a need.”

While someone might think a $5.50 swim pass or a $6.50 spin class is a drop in the bucket, for others it’s not, particularly when you’re a senior, or when you consider how multiple sessions, or multiple family members can add up for anyone on a fixed income.

According to Postings, the number of people taking advantage of the program has been stable annually. The program costs the town between $5,000 and $6,000 a year.

“The awareness is out there,” he said, “ We haven’t seen a huge growth.”

Individuals or families can apply. In order to qualify, an applicant must be able to demonstrate they are a resident of Ladysmith and that their monthly family income is within the most recent Statistics Canada low-income threshold.

Residents of Saltair can also apply, although they end up being subsidized by the Cowichan Valley Regional District, rather than the town. North Oyster residents do not qualify, however staff is investigating that possibly changing in the future.

For information, check out Ladysmith’s parks and rec website, call 250-245-6424, or visit the Frank Jameson Community Centre front desk.

For information, check out Ladysmith’s or call are visit the Frank Jameson Community Centre front desk.