Major changes to the way sport, recreation and leisure facilities are used in Moray are set to be given the go-ahead by councillors next week.
A new membership system for council facilities throughout the region will see disabled, over-60’s and offshore workers paying more for use of facilities from January.
However, the simplified membership scheme will see widespread cost reductions for the majority of facility users with the local authority hoping that it will increase income to around £1million in its first year.
Final arrangements for the new scheme are to be outlined to members of the policy and resources committee on Tuesday.
Members will be told that the Council’s ICT department had already authorised the installation of a new membership card reading system at facilities in Buckie, Elgin, Forres, Keith and Lossiemouth as well as at the Milne’s Fitness Suite in Fochabers and Speyside Sports and Community Centre in Aberlour.
The system will be installed throughout December so that the new membership scheme can go live from January.
Moray will adopt the Highlife Highland Scheme, which will see the introduction of a £27 family monthly direct debit membership for all Moray facilities, which can also be paid annually at £324.
There will also be a £19 monthly membership for individuals with a £228 annual option, while a ‘Budget’ scheme will be in place at just 50p per activity for people who are on income support, job seekers allowance and disability allowance.
When compared to existing membership the new charges represent significant cost savings, from £28 to £19 for individual adults with similar savings for Students.
However, the structure will see an increase for Junior members, over-60’s and disabled, who will see their monthly costs go up from £14 to £19. The largest increase will hit offshore workers, who currently enjoy an annual payment of £175 but will be asked to pay the normal adult rate of £228.
The proposal being put before the committee says: “Very few existing members will lose out financially on this new proposal.
“Those that would be required to pay additional fees (i.e. over 60’s and disabled) would continue paying existing fees for January to March 2015 and then start new prices from April 2015.
“We are speaking about a very small percentage of people that this will impact.”