Low-income families now have a new process to get access to recreation in Grande Prairie. As of August 7th, the former Low-Income Recreation Access program has been changed from a credit system to a subsidy.

In the past, residents who qualified got a $300 per person credit to use at recreational facilities run by the city. However, the city has said only half of the credits were getting used.

“The new model is based off of other successful examples from other municipalities,” explains Eastlink Centre General Manager Jim Weller. “With the new approach, we’re able to enhance the financial sustainability of the program while continuing to remove
financial barriers for residents to improve their health and well-being.”

The new recreation access program will offer those who qualify a 75 per cent discount on Eastlink Centre memberships and passes. To be eligible, residents have to prove they live within city limits and that their annual household income meets Low Income Cut Off thresholds.

Community Social Development Manager Angela Sutherland stresses the importance of being involved in recreation activities to the sense of belonging of all residents.

“The program is greatly beneficial as it enhances family and social connectedness, while helping people improve personal health, which all contributes to a healthy and thriving community.”

The program has a budget of $158,100 for 2018, and it’s expected the change won’t exceed it. The program will now be run out of the Eastlink Centre instead of the Community Social Development building downtown.