Cumberland is looking at ways to remove barriers to recreation opportunities for more residents.
At a meeting last month, council passed motions to reconsider the threshold for income eligibility for program support as well as look at a pilot project with other regional partners that would expand recreation options throughout the Comox Valley.
“What staff are suggesting is a one-year pilot program,” manager of parks and recreation Kevin McPhedran told council.
The intent, he said, was to expand the recreation choices for low-income youth. The Leisure for Everyone Accessibility Program (LEAP) includes all youth residing in the Comox Valley.
The other measure would also have the village change income eligibility levels for Cumberland’s low-income programs, from Low Income Cut-off (LICO) to the Low Income Measure (LIM) to make more people eligible. A table shows the amount for LIM is more advantageous than LICO over a range of household sizes, with LIM differences ranging from at least $3,000 to more than $10,000 a year — meaning more families could use the program.
“Lowering the threshold would definitely guarantee more uptake, and that’s what we’re looking for, more people involved in recreation,” Coun. Sean Sullivan said.
Coun. Jesse Ketler, who chairs the regional district board, said the CVRD started working on the issue of making recreation opportunities more accessible for low-income families in the community a few years ago. She said they also hope to come up with a uniform application for all recreation departments.
“We are looking at having one application for all the programs,” McPhedran added.
The Cumberland staff report notes that council directed staff to work with regional recreation departments two years ago toward low-income options through an all-access pass. For Cumberland, the first phase of what is called the Financial Assistance in Recreation (FAIR) program was endorsed by council in October 2020.