Vote ‘yes’ to secure future for important recreation facility

Residents go to the polls on Saturday, Nov. 15 to set the direction of our communities for the next four years. In addition to voting for municipal representatives, regional director and school district trustees, you will be asked whether or not the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) should provide core funding to the Cowichan Sportsplex. This important question will determine the future of this great community asset.

The Sportsplex, as we know it today, was built over several years by the Chesterfield Sports Society, which was formed in 1996.

The impetus for this development came in 1989 when due to its deteriorated condition, the track at Cowichan Secondary School was closed to competition. The community started to talk about what sports facilities were needed, where the best site was located and after careful consideration the Chesterfield Sports Society formed and began to build what is now a world class sports and recreation facility. Among its amenities, the Sportsplex houses fields for soccer, field hockey and lacrosse as well as slo-pitch diamonds, a lacrosse box, a cushioned track, outdoor fitness equipment and a children’s playground. The site is level, easily accessible for all and has ample parking.

The Sportsplex is a tremendous asset to our community. Not only does it give residents a variety of recreation opportunities, it also provides our youth, from across the region, with a facility to practise and compete at an elite level.

Importantly, it offers those recovering from injuries or surgeries a place to recover on a user friendly exercise circuit and cushioned track. Without the Sportsplex, our community would not have been able to attract the Cowichan 2005 BC Seniors Games, the Cowichan 2008 North American Indigenous Games or the upcoming 2018 BC Summer Games.

We are well positioned to capitalize on a variety of sport tourism events. We have wonderful, committed and willing volunteers, some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and with our existing community amenities can meet most, if not all, sports needs. These events provide lasting legacies for our future both financially and in friendships gained.

Although the question on the referendum ballot will ask if you support a maximum contribution of up to $1.68 per $100,000 of property assessment, it is important to know the CVRD already provides funding to the Sportsplex via the grant-in-aid function. A “yes” vote in November will shift the funding already provided annually for the last five years in the form of a regional grant-in-aid to a line item in the budget. There will be little or no increase to your taxes.

It will provide stable core funding to the Society, which means they will not need to apply year after year for grant-in-aid funding.

If you have not visited the complex, it is located on Chesterfield Road in Duncan and is well worth see viewing. When you go to the polls on Nov. 15 I hope you will consider voting “yes” to provide permanent core funding for the Sportsplex.

Gerry Giles Regional Director, Cobble Hill