Vote leaves Cowichan Sportsplex with huge financial hurdle

The future of the Cowichan Sportsplex has been thrown into uncertainty after funding for the facility was put to nine separate referenda alongside municipal elections on Nov. 15, and some of them failed, while others passed.

"It definitely leaves things up in the air," said Sportsplex Executive Director Catherine Brandon.

For several years the Cowichan Valley Regional District has provided funding to the Sportsplex of upwards of $100,000 per year through a regional grant-in-aid.

Grants-in-aid are technically supposed to be for one-time funding situations, not annual contributions. In an attempt to switch the funding to a more proper and stable service funding arrangement, the proposed new bylaws were taken to the public.

Funding for the Cowichan Sportsplex, which is located in Duncan, has been contentious at the board table, with some directors arguing their areas should not have to pay for the facility as their constituents use it very little or not at all. Others argue that it is a regionally used facility, important for the entire Cowichan Valley as the area tries to build sports tourism by attracting more tournaments and large events like the BC Seniors Games and the BC Summer Games.

On Nov. 15, five of the nine areas voted against funding the facility, while four had "yes" votes.

Areas A, C, D, and E made up the "yes" contingent, while the referenda failed in Areas B, F, G, H and I. This leaves the Sportsplex looking at possible financial support from the CVRD of just $42,000, though even that is not fully confirmed yet, rather than the approximately $149,000 they got last year.

"That leaves us quite under what we need," Brandon said. "We do know that our budget is as tight as it can be. We give great value."

The Sportsplex is run for about $400,000 a year, which she describes as a "really good deal."

Brandon said the society that operates the complex will be watching anxiously on Dec. 10 when the matter of the Sportsplex comes before the CVRD once again. She said the society was holding a budget meeting on Nov. 26 to try to work out where they will go next. She said there’s a possibility they will ask the CVRD for a grant-in-aid, or they may have to look to the Municipality of North

Cowichan and the City of Duncan for increased funding.

"We wouldn’t be able to continue offering the same level of service that we do for that much of a reduced price," she said.

In spite of the disappointing results of the referenda, Brandon said she was encouraged by what she called "pretty impressive" percentages of support, even from the areas that voted "no" overall.

"It definitely kind of reconfirmed for us that we do have support through every corner of the region," she said. "That just gives us more encouragement that we’re doing what the whole community wants us to do, which is great. We just have this period of lots of question marks right now."

Just Posted

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

North Cowichan’s senior environment specialist Dr. Dave Preikshot (pictured) said there’s a wide spectrum of views on carbon credits. (File photo)
Carbon credits expected to be part of discussions around forest reserve

North Cowichan acknowledges wide range of views on issue

Blue Moon Marquee from Duncan will be featured at the 2021 TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival on June 28. (Submitted)
Blue Moon Marquee to play Vancouver Jazz Festival

What’s coming up in the A&E scene

Sonia Furstenau, MLA
Proposed Health Professions Act would eliminate barriers, guide regulations

Is your doctor a member of good standing with the BC College… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Harvesting hay in the Fraser Valley. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
COVID-19: B.C. waives farm income requirement for a second year

Property owners don’t need minimum income for 2022 taxes

A view of the outside of St. Andrews Roman Catholic Cathedral on Victoria’s Blanshard Street. (Don Denton/News staff)
Vancouver Island bishop apologizes for church’s role in residential schools

Bishop Gary Gordon of the Diocese of Victoria voices commitment to healing and reconciliation

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province's fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Most Read