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CVRD considers regional recreation funding in wake of report

Special board meeting on Friday
The CVRD will discuss funding for regional recreation facilities at a special board meeting on Friday. (File photo)

The future of regional recreation in the Cowichan Valley will be the focus of discussion at a special board meeting at the Cowichan Valley Regional District office on April 27.

The meeting, which begins at 9 a.m., comes on the heels of a report tabled by the CVRD’s regional recreation committee in which committee members said the existing status-quo funding of the nine regionally significant recreation facilities in the regional district is no longer an option.

Currently, recreation projects and complexes in the CVRD are planned, built and funded piecemeal by self-interested areas and municipalities within the regional district, rather than by the regional district as a whole.

This has led to years of in-fighting amongst areas within the regional district competing for recreation projects and dollars.

The committee brought forward several funding models at a recent workshop, with each model proposing to apportion costs on a single new basis for funding; namely usage, population, taxable assessment, proximity and hierarchy of use.

But there was no consensus among committee members on any one formula for apportioning costs.

A staff report said that it is staff’s opinion that there is no better time to move a fair-funding model for regional recreation forward than now because there is no new major recreation facility contemplated in the region at the present.

“The fairest way to seek public approval is referendum, and the most inexpensive time to hold a referendum is during a local government election,” the report said.

The next municipal election is set for October, 2018.

CVRD chairman Jon Lefebure said the board has to choose whether to abandon the whole project of finding a fair and acceptable means to fund local recreation facilities, or move ahead with one of the funding options and hold a referendum on the issue in the fall.

“It’s hard to say what the board will decide and the final decision may not be made at Friday’s meeting,” he said.

“The board may call for further information or another report before a final decision is made. We’ll see what’s decided.”

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Robert Barron

About the Author: Robert Barron

Since 2016, I've had had the pleasure of working with our dedicated staff and community in the Cowichan Valley.
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