Drew Cooper, director of operations at the Cowichan Sportsplex, said the City of Duncan’ decision not to commit $25,000 towards a new field house at the sports facility is unfortunate. (File photo)

City of Duncan denies Sportsplex funding request for new field house

Cowichan Sportsplex looking to build $1.5-facility

The City of Duncan has denied a request for $25,000 to help build a new $1.5-million field house at the Cowichan Sportsplex.

The grant was intended to be one of the matching funds required from local governments and sources in order to release the approximately $1 million in funding that has been successfully secured from the Canada Recreation Infrastructure Fund for the project.

The Municipality of North Cowichan has already committed $95,000 towards the field house, and the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s board will consider a request for $75,000 for the project at its meeting on Nov. 27 after its community services committee recommended it be approved.

RELATED STORY: COWICHAN SPORTSPLEX LOOKS TO CONSTRUCT NEW $1.5-MILLION FIELD HOUSE

At the City of Duncan’s council meeting on Nov. 18, Coun. Tom Duncan said the city currently gives an annual payment to the Chesterfield Sports Society, which operates the Sporstplex, of $15,000 for public use, as well as providing water free of charge, up to a maximum of approximately one million cubic feet per year, which costs the city about $20,000.

“It’s a fact that only about 10 per cent of the population of the city uses that track,” he said.

Mayor Michelle Staples said the construction of the new field house is an ongoing project and she expects the Chesterfield Sports Society would be back again next year requesting funding for the project.

“Perhaps they will come back with a different funding formula,” she said.

RELATED STORY: NEW FIELD HOUSE AT COWICHAN SPORTSPLEX NECESSARY, SAYS MANAGER

The Cowichan Sportsplex is a popular regional outdoor sports, fitness and recreation park covering more than 26 acres in the Valley.

The property it is on land owned by the Municipality of North Cowichan, but the Sportsplex is widely used by many in the Valley, and beyond.

The construction of a field house at the Cowichan Sportsplex was part of the original plans for the sports centre when it was first built about 15 years ago, but the plan is just now coming to fruition.

Senior levels of government announced in September they were kicking in more than $1 million for the field house.

The society has used some of its own reserve funds and now has a total of $1,356,000 in place for the new facility.

The society was looking for $195,000 in contributions from local governments.

RELATED STORY: NORTH COWICHAN GIVES GREEN LIGHT TO NEW FIELD HOUSE

Drew Cooper, director of operations at the Sportsplex, said the decision by the City of Duncan will not necessarily kill the deal for the field house.

But it will make the process more difficult as the funding must now be found elsewhere.

“Venues like the Sportsplex, Cowichan Community Centre and Fuller Lake Arena that are spread around the region are among our attractions here,” Cooper said.

“Some people say they don’t impact them, but that kind of thinking needs to be revisited.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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