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.
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.