Proposed service and staffing cuts at the Hyde Creek Recreation Centre has at least one Port Coquitlam family questioning how those changes could impact safety at the facility.
The city's 2013 budget, which has yet to be approved by council, calls for a reduction in hours on Sunday evenings, and a move to reduce staffing levels by 15 hours per week in the centre's weight room.
If those measures are approved, the centre would close at 6 p.m. on Sundays, as opposed to the current closing time of 9 p.m.
The changes to the weight room would see staffing levels cut between 8 and 10 a.m., and between 9 and 10 p.m. on weekdays.
"The people are important in [the weight room], because they control who comes in without a wrist band, and they can help if someone gets hurt," said PoCo resident Charlene Black.
"And there are times when items do get taken from the lockers and cubbyholes."
Black said she and the three other members of her family are at the facility five times per week, and typically use the weight room and cardio machines.
She said the proposed cuts fly in the face of municipal efforts to promote active lifestyles, and said the pay of city council members should be chopped instead.
"Are the councillors willing to take a pay freeze so that everybody else can have something? That's always a question I have, but it never gets answered," she said.
According to the city's preliminary budget documents, the reduction in hours on Sundays represents an opportunity to save $35,000 annually. That translates into a savings of $1.31 per single-family household, and represents the highest savings opportunity put forward by the city's parks are recreation staff.
The reduction in staffing in the weight room could save the city $16,000, or 60 cents per single-family household.
City spokesperson Pardeep Purewal told The NOW the cuts are being proposed, "in order to both balance the budget and meet community needs."
"None of the proposed service level changes have been implemented," she said in an e-mail. "More specifically, supervision of the weight room on Sunday evenings has remained the same."
The city's draft 2013 budget includes a municipal tax increase of $50.65 (2.63 per cent) and an infrastructure replacement levy of $19.29 (one per cent) for the average single-family home assessed at $526,175.
Council will review public feedback on the budget at the March 4 finance and intergovernmental committee meeting.
The budget will be up for adoption at meetings on both March 25 and April 8.