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Decision to hike mall walker program fees kicks up a storm of protests

The City of Mississauga is struggling to reduce costs and sometimes it can end up being counterproductive.

Coming this fall, the city will raise the price per session of the group by 150 per cent, for seniors who are part of a mall-walker program at Erin Mills Town Centre, Mississauga.

Group members currently pay 60 cents a session. In the fall, sessions will cost $1.50 each. Under the current rate, individuals would pay $93.60 for roughly three sessions per week over the year, and $234 at the new rate.

Fee assistance is available for residents through the city’s active assist program, which provides $275 per year for individuals earning a maximum of $21,481 after taxes for individuals and $26,143 for households of two. Without fee assistance, the participants are looking at an increase of $140.40 per person for three classes over a year.

According to Mississauga recreation staff, the increase is needed in order to cover the costs of a fitness instructor, which is roughly $45 an hour, or $7,000 per year. The increase would also allow the city to grow the program into other areas of Mississauga.

One solution could be that a group could find a cheaper instructor to hire, perhaps someone older and willing to work for less.

Meanwhile it would be a great idea if malls across the GTA are places such programs happen. It could be a great revenue earner eventually for struggling malls by utilizing their premises as walking zones before malls open to the public. -CINEWS

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