The City of Burnaby waived more than $230,000 in fees over the last five years to allow local officials to golf, swim and skate for free.
From 2014 to 2018, 65 different people made use of the city’s complimentary pass program, which allows council, parks commission and school board members, among others, to use local recreation facilities for free.
Most of the fee waivers were granted at Burnaby’s two municipally owned golf courses, Riverway and Burnaby Mountain.
Former parks commissioner Jim Kozak topped the list, charging $31,537 to the city over five years, followed by another former commissioner, Wayne Peppard, who had $23,385 waived.
Former Mayor Derek Corrigan made the most use of the program of any elected official. He racked up a $20,361 bill over the same period.
Four other local politicians charged more than $5,000 between 2014 and 2018: Coun. Colleen Jordan ($16,112), Coun. James Wang ($12,715), Coun. Paul McDonell ($8,563) and trustee Gary Wong ($7,137).
Many of those top users will soon have to reach into their own pockets to cover their green fees, as Burnaby council voted recently to slash the program.
Starting in 2020, school and library board members will be cut off, as will former councillors, mayors and parks commissioners. Current councillors, the mayor and parks commissioners will be limited to $1,500 in waivers per year.
The majority of the program’s users waived less than $1,500 per year between 2014 and 2018.
The changes passed with McDonell, Jordan and Coun. Dan Johnston opposed.
Both McDonell and Jordan said they were worried the cuts were unfair to library board and parks commissions members, who are otherwise unpaid volunteers.