Admission prices at some of Montreal’s most popular tourist attractions are going up to offset the cost of renovations.
The City of Montreal is introducing new admission fees in 2012.
The Botanical Garden, Insectarium and the Biodome’s entrance fees will go up across the board, however the biggest impact will be felt by people more than 65 years of age.
In 2011, the price of a pass to the three attractions was between $18 and $21, depending on whether or not if they were a resident of Quebec.
In 2012, that will jump to $24 to $29.50.
The adult rate for a Quebec resident will rise to $31.50 from $28.
The rates are lower for local visitors with an Access Montreal card.
Executive committee vice-chair Alan DeSousa said seniors account for five per cent of total traffic to the attractions.
$189-million investment in east end attractions
The city has chosen to make the east end a tourist destination, and it is investing more than $189 million over the next six years to build the new planetarium and improve existing facilities.
The bulk of that money is coming from property taxes, but some will be generated through user fees.
DeSousa said every admission group is facing an increase to help cover that cost.
“We didn’t focus on any group in particular, everyone has got an increase across the board,”
“I think, in fairness, it’s a reasonable structure, reasonable in the circumstances.”
Montreal taxpayers still pay the least to access the facility, he said.
Opposition members are criticizing the fee hike, saying the city is targeting the city’s poorest.
Councillor Anie Samson, mayor of the Villeray—Saint-Michel—Parc-Extension borough, said she has heard from constituents who say if the rates go up, they’ll have to stop going to the attractions.
“I think the city must see the budget and must maybe cut somewhere else and put money where they have to put it,” she said. “I think it’s a bad decision.”
Projet Montreal is also taking aim at money spent by the nature museum on communications.
According to a press release from opposition party, they spent nearly $1.5 million over two years on branding, logos and their website.
“It’s time for the city administration to take control of the Nature Museums,” François Limoges, Projet Montreal councillor for St-Édouard, said in the release.
The increases will come into effect in 2012.