Museum raising fees to meet rising wages

Fees are going up at The Exploration Place Museum + Science Centre, starting on Feb. 3.

The increase will see the cost of a family admission to the museum rise from $25 to $32,and a family membership will increase from $95 to $125, according to a press release issued by the museum. Increases to the Fort George Explorers After School Care Program and Early Explorers Preschool will not come into effect until September 2020, but the museum's summer day camps will see a fee increase this summer.

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"No one ever likes to raise prices, that's why there hasn't been an increase like this since 2014 here at The Exploration Place,' CEO Tracy Calogheros said in a press release. "In order to ensure our staff are paid a living wage, one that reflects their expertise and commitment, we simply have no choice but to raise our fees and charges to reflect the current realities. We certainly hope that our visitors and members will understand and will continue to support us."

Calogheros said the increases are a response to rising minimum wages in B.C. The provincial minimum wage increased to $13.85 per hour on June 1, 2019 and will increase again to $14.60 on June 1 this year and to $15.20 on June 1, 2021.

"When we examined the impacts the wage increases would have on our bottom line, we also realized that by raising our hiring rate to $15.20 we have existing staff who are being paid at about that same rate; hardly something that was going to be great for team morale," Calogheros' statement added. "We have gone through a re-organization, eliminated some positions where it was possible to find efficiencies and are implementing the wage increases in 2020."

As a charity, the museum and science centre must raise more than $2,700 per day, in addition to the government funding The Exploration Place receives.

"The new fee structure will support the valuable experiences and opportunties we offer to our members, visitors, community and region through new and existing science and heritage programming, travelling exhibits and collections management," the statement said.

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