A public consultation on the cost of sports and physical activities offered by Aberdeenshire Council will open on Monday, August 29.
The consultation is taking place to allow the council to consider how best to keep services and facilities affordable for users while ensuring those services are sustainable in the long term.
In February, at a meeting of full council, Aberdeenshire councillors agreed to adopt a new charging framework to pave the way for greater consistency of charges levied by the council and make sure they are reviewed on a regular basis.
As part of the framework, councillors agreed the regular consideration of fees and charges should be supported by consultation.
As part of the consultation, an online survey has been created and everyone who completes it and wishes to be entered in the prize draw could be in with a chance of winning two three-month Active Aberdeenshire passes.
The online survey, which will be available for two weeks until Monday, September 12, can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/aberdeenshireleisure
Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee, Cllr Alison Evison, said: “The council is investing millions in fantastic new sports facilities across Aberdeenshire and we want to maintain that high standard of service in the long run.
“To do that we have to make sure that the services we offer are sustainable but we do realise that potential changes to our prices could impact on different users in different ways.
“That’s why this consultation is taking place, to give Aberdeenshire residents, whether they currently use our sports facilities or not, the chance to tell us what’s important to them when it comes to the sports activities and facilities on offer.”
Vice-chair of the committee, Cllr Charles Buchan, added: “As well as the online survey, the council will be engaging with local sports groups through sessions with officers and we’re also speaking to staff who work in our sports facilities so they can have their say as well.
“The more people we hear from, the better a picture we can build up of how people are using the services and facilities on offer and how any potential changes to our pricing system could affect them in the future.
“The survey is open to everyone in Aberdeenshire, whether you exercise every day or not at all, and only takes five minutes to complete so I encourage anyone with an interest in how we charge for services to have their say.”
Since 2012 Aberdeenshire Council has invested in four major new facilities for sports and physical activities, with a further three due for completion by 2018.
The principle of generating more income for the council where appropriate has been included in the medium-term financial strategy.
During engagement on the council’s budget earlier this year, those proposals received public support with 60% of respondents agreeing with the statement: “I would be prepared to pay more for a service if it would prevent that service being reduced/discontinued. This may mean, for instance, paying more for services such as leisure activities and trade waste.”