Recreation Facility Allocation: Opportunities for Play

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

We want to ensure St. Catharines is the city where everyone can play.

Across the community a myriad of community groups rely on City facilities, be they arenas, baseball fields, soccer pitches or more, to deliver their programs. With so many groups relying on a finite number of facilities we want to ensure everyone has their chance to take to the field, court or ice.

With this focus on equitable and transparent distribution of recreation resources we have developed a draft Recreation Facilities Allocation Policy. This policy was built on extensive public engagement with stakeholder groups and the public. If approved by City Council it will replace our existing ice allocation policy and extend coverage to all our recreation facilities. This will ensure fairness for all users while defining clear reasoning for allocation decisions and avenues for dispute resolution. Basically it provides an even playing field, while ensuring user groups who have historically used our facilities are not displaced.

Capacity versus allocation

A quick note before we dive in. It is important to recognize the difference between capacity and allocation. Capacity defines the total amount of useable time for any given facility type, simply put the number of any facility type and the hours it is open.

Allocation refers to how those useable hours are distributed. This policy pertains only to allocation or, more simply put, how we distribute the capacity we have.

Expansions of capacity will not be addressed by the allocation policy as these are guided by other planning documents such as the City’s Aquatics Facilities Strategy.

The allocation policy isn’t about the number of fields, rinks or pools we have, it is about how we use what we have at any given time.

Allocation priorities

The draft allocation policy outlines a system based on prioritizing the following, from highest priority, to lowest:

  • Existing leases, licences and contracts
  • Special events organized by, supported by, sponsored by or in partnership with the City of St. Catharines
  • Public City programming
  • Requests from local schools during school hours, during the school year
  • Allocation allotments, tournaments and special events
  • All other requests

Allocation allotment

Needless to say, based on the facility type, demand tends to peak at certain times of day during certain seasons. There is more demand for ice time, for example, during hockey season over winter in hours outside of the typical work day when participants are busy with school or careers.

To best address requests during these prime-time, the policy outlines a special allotment process for these times, ensuring existing user groups can continue to operate.

Allocation allotment formula

Under the draft policy the City will use a scalable formula for the distribution of prime-time, regular season hours. Basically the formula takes the total prime-time availability across all facilities of a given type and calculates an allotment based on an organization’s average use across the last three regular seasons of play (for example years impacted by COVID-19 response would not be included in this calculation). In short a user group will receive the same percentage of the total prime-time hours as they did across the last three seasons.

The three year average ensures those who have traditionally accessed our facilities will continue to be able to do so if the draft policy is approved.

Let’s look at an example.

Let’s say the City, has 100 total hours of ice time. Over the last three years Group A used an average of 25 hours, Group B an average of 35 hours and Group C an average of 40.

Basically, Group A can receive up to 25 per cent of the total hours available this year, Group B 35 per cent and Group C 40 per cent.

So, if the total prime-time ice availability for the season remains the same at 100 hours total we would see the following distribution:

  • Group A, 25 hours
  • Group B, 35 hours
  • Group C, 40 hours

But wait, what if, for example one ice pad cannot operate due to maintenance upgrades, reducing the total ice time to 75 hours for the season? The three groups would have their hours distributed based on their historic use, resulting in a reduction of total hours, but with each receiving the same percentage of the total available prime-time ice:

  • Group A, 18.75 hours
  • Group B, 26.25 hours
  • Group C, 30 hours

On the other hand, if the City opened a new ice pad, increasing total hours to 125, user groups would be able to request a larger number of hours, calculated on their historical percentage of use:

  • Group A, 31.25 hours
  • Group B, 43.75 hours
  • Group C, 50 hours

The charts below illustrate this visually. As capacity decreases user groups receive less hours, as it increases they can receive more. However, despite any changes to capacity the user groups receive the same portion (percentage) of the total available hours.


Dispute resolution

While the City ultimately holds the right to distribute hours, the new policy outlines a scoring matrix for dispute resolution. Using a point-based system, developed on priorities identified by stakeholders and the public during earlier public engagement, the matrix will allow staff to address disputes in a manor that is both transparent and equitable.

Scoring Matrix

In instances of dispute both applicants will be scored across all of the following characteristics, with their points tabulated to identify the preferred recipient of facility hours.

Points will be calculated based on:

  • Participant age, with child and youth programming receiving the highest priority
  • Organization classification, where non-profit and charity groups are prioritized over for-profit
  • History of use, where a greater number of years of previous operation is scored higher
  • Inclusion, where groups serving diverse communities, or special accessibility needs, score higher
  • Organization type, prioritizing groups mixing both recreational and competitive use
  • Organization size, with groups serving more participants scoring higher
  • Participant residency, with groups that have a higher percentage of St. Catharines residents as participants scoring higher
  • Residential prioritization, with groups prioritizing St. Catharines residents, followed by those prioritizing Niagara residents scoring higher.


Check out the point calculation characteristics below. Priorities are listed from highest scoring to lowest.

Participant age

Based on the age of participants:
  1. Children and youth
  2. Adults
  3. Family and intergenerational
  4. Older adults

Organization classification

Non-profit vs. for-profit:
  1. Non-profit, not-for-profit, charity
  2. For profit, commercial

Historical precedence

The length of time in years a user / group has used a facility type in St. Catharines:
  1. 40 plus
  2. 35 to 39
  3. 30 to 34
  4. 25 to 29
  5. 20 to 24
  6. 15 to 19
  7. 10 to 14
  8. Six to nine
  9. One to five
  10. Under one

Organization size

The number of participants the organization has:
  1. 5,000 plus
  2. 4,000 to 4,999
  3. 3,500 to 3,999
  4. 3,000 to 3,499
  5. 2,500 to 2,999
  6. 2,000 to 2,499
  7. 1,500 to 1,999
  8. 1,000 to 1,499
  9. 500 to 999
  10. One to 499

Participant residency

The percentage of participants who live in St. Catharines:
  1. 100 per cent
  2. 75 to 99 per cent
  3. 50 to 74 per cent
  4. 24 to 49 per cent
  5. Under 25 per cent

Inclusion

Groups serving diverse communities, or providing accommodation for accessibility needs:
  1. All programming
  2. Select programming
  3. No programming

Organization type

Recreational vs. competitive play:
  1. Both competitive and recreational
  2. Recreational only
  3. Competitive only

Residential prioritization

Where is the organization based, and what residents does it prioritize:
  1. St. Catharines based
  2. Niagara based
  3. Other

Learn more

Watch the short video presentation below to learn more, or read the draft policy.


Feedback and questions

We want to hear from you. Provide your feedback on the policy via the Feedback Survey below, or ask staff questions related to the policy via the Q and A tool. Please submit all feedback and questions for consideration before June 11, 2022.



Follow us on social media

We want to ensure St. Catharines is the city where everyone can play.

Across the community a myriad of community groups rely on City facilities, be they arenas, baseball fields, soccer pitches or more, to deliver their programs. With so many groups relying on a finite number of facilities we want to ensure everyone has their chance to take to the field, court or ice.

With this focus on equitable and transparent distribution of recreation resources we have developed a draft Recreation Facilities Allocation Policy. This policy was built on extensive public engagement with stakeholder groups and the public. If approved by City Council it will replace our existing ice allocation policy and extend coverage to all our recreation facilities. This will ensure fairness for all users while defining clear reasoning for allocation decisions and avenues for dispute resolution. Basically it provides an even playing field, while ensuring user groups who have historically used our facilities are not displaced.

Capacity versus allocation

A quick note before we dive in. It is important to recognize the difference between capacity and allocation. Capacity defines the total amount of useable time for any given facility type, simply put the number of any facility type and the hours it is open.

Allocation refers to how those useable hours are distributed. This policy pertains only to allocation or, more simply put, how we distribute the capacity we have.

Expansions of capacity will not be addressed by the allocation policy as these are guided by other planning documents such as the City’s Aquatics Facilities Strategy.

The allocation policy isn’t about the number of fields, rinks or pools we have, it is about how we use what we have at any given time.

Allocation priorities

The draft allocation policy outlines a system based on prioritizing the following, from highest priority, to lowest:

  • Existing leases, licences and contracts
  • Special events organized by, supported by, sponsored by or in partnership with the City of St. Catharines
  • Public City programming
  • Requests from local schools during school hours, during the school year
  • Allocation allotments, tournaments and special events
  • All other requests

Allocation allotment

Needless to say, based on the facility type, demand tends to peak at certain times of day during certain seasons. There is more demand for ice time, for example, during hockey season over winter in hours outside of the typical work day when participants are busy with school or careers.

To best address requests during these prime-time, the policy outlines a special allotment process for these times, ensuring existing user groups can continue to operate.

Allocation allotment formula

Under the draft policy the City will use a scalable formula for the distribution of prime-time, regular season hours. Basically the formula takes the total prime-time availability across all facilities of a given type and calculates an allotment based on an organization’s average use across the last three regular seasons of play (for example years impacted by COVID-19 response would not be included in this calculation). In short a user group will receive the same percentage of the total prime-time hours as they did across the last three seasons.

The three year average ensures those who have traditionally accessed our facilities will continue to be able to do so if the draft policy is approved.

Let’s look at an example.

Let’s say the City, has 100 total hours of ice time. Over the last three years Group A used an average of 25 hours, Group B an average of 35 hours and Group C an average of 40.

Basically, Group A can receive up to 25 per cent of the total hours available this year, Group B 35 per cent and Group C 40 per cent.

So, if the total prime-time ice availability for the season remains the same at 100 hours total we would see the following distribution:

  • Group A, 25 hours
  • Group B, 35 hours
  • Group C, 40 hours

But wait, what if, for example one ice pad cannot operate due to maintenance upgrades, reducing the total ice time to 75 hours for the season? The three groups would have their hours distributed based on their historic use, resulting in a reduction of total hours, but with each receiving the same percentage of the total available prime-time ice:

  • Group A, 18.75 hours
  • Group B, 26.25 hours
  • Group C, 30 hours

On the other hand, if the City opened a new ice pad, increasing total hours to 125, user groups would be able to request a larger number of hours, calculated on their historical percentage of use:

  • Group A, 31.25 hours
  • Group B, 43.75 hours
  • Group C, 50 hours

The charts below illustrate this visually. As capacity decreases user groups receive less hours, as it increases they can receive more. However, despite any changes to capacity the user groups receive the same portion (percentage) of the total available hours.


Dispute resolution

While the City ultimately holds the right to distribute hours, the new policy outlines a scoring matrix for dispute resolution. Using a point-based system, developed on priorities identified by stakeholders and the public during earlier public engagement, the matrix will allow staff to address disputes in a manor that is both transparent and equitable.

Scoring Matrix

In instances of dispute both applicants will be scored across all of the following characteristics, with their points tabulated to identify the preferred recipient of facility hours.

Points will be calculated based on:

  • Participant age, with child and youth programming receiving the highest priority
  • Organization classification, where non-profit and charity groups are prioritized over for-profit
  • History of use, where a greater number of years of previous operation is scored higher
  • Inclusion, where groups serving diverse communities, or special accessibility needs, score higher
  • Organization type, prioritizing groups mixing both recreational and competitive use
  • Organization size, with groups serving more participants scoring higher
  • Participant residency, with groups that have a higher percentage of St. Catharines residents as participants scoring higher
  • Residential prioritization, with groups prioritizing St. Catharines residents, followed by those prioritizing Niagara residents scoring higher.


Check out the point calculation characteristics below. Priorities are listed from highest scoring to lowest.

Participant age

Based on the age of participants:
  1. Children and youth
  2. Adults
  3. Family and intergenerational
  4. Older adults

Organization classification

Non-profit vs. for-profit:
  1. Non-profit, not-for-profit, charity
  2. For profit, commercial

Historical precedence

The length of time in years a user / group has used a facility type in St. Catharines:
  1. 40 plus
  2. 35 to 39
  3. 30 to 34
  4. 25 to 29
  5. 20 to 24
  6. 15 to 19
  7. 10 to 14
  8. Six to nine
  9. One to five
  10. Under one

Organization size

The number of participants the organization has:
  1. 5,000 plus
  2. 4,000 to 4,999
  3. 3,500 to 3,999
  4. 3,000 to 3,499
  5. 2,500 to 2,999
  6. 2,000 to 2,499
  7. 1,500 to 1,999
  8. 1,000 to 1,499
  9. 500 to 999
  10. One to 499

Participant residency

The percentage of participants who live in St. Catharines:
  1. 100 per cent
  2. 75 to 99 per cent
  3. 50 to 74 per cent
  4. 24 to 49 per cent
  5. Under 25 per cent

Inclusion

Groups serving diverse communities, or providing accommodation for accessibility needs:
  1. All programming
  2. Select programming
  3. No programming

Organization type

Recreational vs. competitive play:
  1. Both competitive and recreational
  2. Recreational only
  3. Competitive only

Residential prioritization

Where is the organization based, and what residents does it prioritize:
  1. St. Catharines based
  2. Niagara based
  3. Other

Learn more

Watch the short video presentation below to learn more, or read the draft policy.


Feedback and questions

We want to hear from you. Provide your feedback on the policy via the Feedback Survey below, or ask staff questions related to the policy via the Q and A tool. Please submit all feedback and questions for consideration before June 11, 2022.



Follow us on social media

  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    Please provide any feedback related to the draft Recreation Facility Allocation Policy via this form.

    Complete Form
    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
Page last updated: 13 Jun 2022, 01:54 PM