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

Cowichan Power and Sail Squadron celebrates its 60th anniversary

Many who take courses go on to become Canadian Power Squadron members.

Andrea Rondeau column: Crime Stoppers is back, plus, why crime is important to write about

As a newspaper we cover crime as more than just entertainment.

Kick for the Cure crushes records

Soccer fundraiser for MS brings in more than $30,000

Sarah Simpson column: Daddy Day field trip to City Hall a hit

“They want to go upstairs so I made them ask at the front desk.”

Duncan Dodgers win bantam tourney

Dodgers beat White Sox in tournament final

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Coming up in Cowichan: Spend Father’s Day fishing, or head to the BC Forest Discovery Centre

Deadline coming to register for class reunion The Cowichan Secondary Class of… Continue reading

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Most Read