Baseball and softball leagues in Saint John were shocked in January when they received notice their field rental fees in the city might be skyrocketing.

The fees were proposed to Saint John council as a way to increase parks and leisure revenue as part of the city's 2016 budget. 

Saint John council will vote Monday on a plan to increase field rental fees by an average of 46 per cent, with some fees increasing by as much as 200 per cent. 

Greg Flynn, the president of Lancaster Minor Baseball, said the fee increases will have a negative effect on the ability of children in the city to participate in recreational sports.

"The one option would be that they would find another sport, that was more affordable," Flynn said.

"The second option, which is the more unfortunate one, is that they would do nothing at all. And we don't want idle hands for our youth. It creates all kinds of problems down the road." 

The city says it does not comment on matters that have not yet gone to council.

Youth rates being hiked

Under the proposal, fees for adults in the class A fields will increase to $40.96 from $25.60 per hour.

Youth rates are set to increase by the largest margin.

Saint John baseball

Saint John council will vote on Monday on a plan to boost field rental fees by an average of 46 per cent. (City of Saint John)

For youth, this fee could go to $20.70 from $9 per hour. For the class B fields, youth are looking at an increase to $7.50 from $2.50.

The proposed fees would be the highest in the Maritimes, four times more than both Fredericton and Moncton.

Under the new regime, the cost of renting fields in Saint John would leapfrog over St. John's and Toronto.

However, with increased prices, people expect an increase in services, something Flynn says isn't the case.

"It's certainly going to put us in one of the higher percentages in the whole country," Flynn said.

"Although I like our fields and we have good fields, I don't think we have the best baseball fields in the country."

The possibility of higher rental fees isn't being totally rejected by some organizations.

Alec Montgomery, the president of the Molson Co-ed Recreational Slo Pitch League, said he understands the need for increased revenue.

But Montgomery said he believes it is too much, too soon.

"If they would have offset it over four or five years, 10 per cent or something like that, you know, you probably could live with that," Montgomery said.

"But 63 per cent in one shot is a lot of money."