Vaudreuil-Dorion resident riled about vanished resident discount at Centre Multisports
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
Paul Dumoulin, Vaudreuil-Dorion District 8 municipal councillor and member of the six-person administrative council at the Center Multisports which includes Mayor Guy Pilon, said the centre will look into whether a 20 per cent membership discount for residents was apparently discontinued after a citizen complained during the January 15 council meeting the rebate was no longer available.
The apparent discontinuation of a 20 per cent rebate available to Vaudreuil-Dorion citizens for membership at the Centre Multisports prompted a resident to complain about the situation during the Monday evening council session on January 15.
Jean-Michel Smolsky told council the city adopted a policy three years ago that enables all citizens to take advantage of the rebate when registering at the centre with proof of residence. But when Smolsky’s wife went to renew her membership in December and asked for the discount, she was told it didn’t apply, he said.
“She was told there was a $100 discount for everyone who renewed their membership and because it was a special promotion, the 20 per cent resident rebate didn’t apply. I told council that anyone from outside the city now pays exactly the same price we do because our citizens no longer get the rebate. The city is penalizing us,” Smolsky told Your Local Journal after the meeting.
He said Vaudreuil-Dorion citizens are actually paying higher membership fees than non-residents because a portion of the city’s annual taxes are used to fund the centre. Just under $3.2 million from its $77 million 2018 operating budget was allocated to the centre which includes the city’s various cultural and recreational groups and programs.
“We give a lot of money every year to the centre from our taxes,” said Smolsky.“People from outside the city don’t have to give a penny from their taxes.”
Rebate introduced in 2015
The 20 per cent rebate was introduced in 2015 after Smolsky first raised the issue at council. He said at the time it was unfair for non-residents to pay the same membership price.
“Council woke up and said, ‘Let’s do something for our citizens’. This is when they instituted the 20 per cent rebate. Now it’s all been forgotten and we’re back to the same position we were three years ago. I cannot blame the people at the centre. They’re just applying the rules that are being given to them. It’s the council that is making the rules,” Smolsky added.
Complaint will be reviewed
Pro-Mayor and District 6 Councillor Gabriel Parent, who chaired the council session during Mayor Guy Pilon’s absence, agreed citizens are entitled to the rebate. He said the complaint will be reviewed by the centre’s administrative council and city council will decide on the matter.
Paul Dumoulin, municipal District 6 Councillor and member of the centre’s six-person administrative council which includes Mayor Pilon, said the situation could have been the result of a communication error. He confirmed the situation will be studied within the next two weeks and the centre’s recommendations presented to council for their decision.
‘Incomplete’ billing information
Smolsky also told council he’s ‘disturbed’ by what he considers incomplete billing by the centre. “When I looked at the invoice my wife received, it just had the total amount. By law, you’re supposed to have the price of the service, the discount, the sub-total, plus the TPS and GST for the grand total. There is no information whatsoever about the taxes and what we’re paying for,” he said.
“I told council this is against the law and if they don’t correct the situation very quickly, I’m going to make a complaint to the Office de la protection du consommateur (OPC). This is a provincial law. There should be some basic information on the bill. It should be like any bill you get from any store,” he added.
Dumoulin said the centre’s administrative council will also look into this matter and implement any changes to its billing procedure if necessary as soon as possible.