Income Spread Creating Recreational Facilities Gap 

Individuals should not be limited by their income bracket in accessing safe public recreational facilities; however, this issue of pay-to-play and more money, more access is becoming increasingly prevalent and problematic. In the case of Montreal, the difference between high-income and low-income boroughs’ public recreation facilities has become inescapably obvious. A CBC news article reports that lower-income neighbourhoods not only have lower numbers of facilities per capita, but several of the facilities also are not proper recreation centres at all.  

Children play various activities in a fenced-in space at a community centre. (Source: CBC/ Liam Britten)

In one particular neighbourhood, children gather to participate in various activities in a converted McDonald’s restaurant. There is a potential danger surrounding the use of this centre as a large wall inside of the building is constructed of glass, with a risk of breakage if hit with sporting equipment such as balls. In addition to the safety concerns, more people are using these facilities than higher-income facilities, leading to potential overcrowding.  

These public recreation facilities are supposed to provide a safe space for children to spend time, learn skills and make friends. These children should have equal access to safe and under-crowded facilities regardless of the neighbourhood they live in or their family’s income. If physical activity is crucial to our overall well-being, why is accessibility to safe facilities to partake in said activity locked behind paywalls? The issue of money dictating access may have dire consequences, as it could create a more significant gap in physical, mental and financial health between income groups.  

Sarah A. 

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