Sportsplex vote results bad for whole region

We’re profoundly disappointed, though not surprised by the outcome of the Sportsplex funding referenda on Nov. 15.

We can now only hope there’s a workaround for the painful lack of regional thinking on display during the vote.

Because make no mistake, the future of the Cowichan Sportsplex is in serious jeopardy. Making up more than $100,000 in funding to keep the place up and running will be no easy feat.

And it all could have been avoided for just, literally, pennies from voters – and not even new pennies. That’s right. Voting in favour of funding the Sportsplex would have cost voters absolutely nothing extra on their taxes. The Cowichan Valley Regional District was already providing funding. This would just have seen the money coming from a different part of the budget.

Of course, the vote was designed to produce exactly this result – essentially a failure in funding – by the architects at the CVRD board table.

The directors knew what they were doing when they made it an area by area vote rather than one region-wide referendum. They’ve all been around long enough to know what the consequences would be.

We don’t let the elected officials off the hook on that one, any more than the individuals who voted – and the thousands who didn’t.

What has the “no” vote in five of nine areas cost us?

The potential for economic development for one.

Many of those who voted against funding the Sportsplex will no doubt tell you they are all for economic development – in the abstract – because it will help to bring prosperity to the region. But let’s get down to brass tacks.

The CVRD has endorsed a plan to try to attract more multi-sport games and large tournaments to the Valley.

This will bring in dollars. The Sportsplex is a key facility in allowing us to host such things. Without funding it will inevitably deteriorate. We’re concerned now about our ability to host the BC Summer Games, coming to Cowichan in 2018.

We’ve also heard the argument from individual voters that they don’t use the Sportsplex, so they shouldn’t have to pay for it.

They may not use it, but we bet they know somebody who does, or somebody’s child, brother, sister or friend whose sports team does. Or someone who’s participated in the MS Walk there, or the 12-Hour Relay, or the Walk for Memories.

Not to mention the fundamental idea that we group together to afford amenities as a community that we cannot afford as individuals. Think schools, health care, parks etc.

This vote provided a sad outcome for the Cowichan Valley, one we’ll be desperately trying to correct for years to come.

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