The scheduling conflict at Duncan’s Rotary Park that resulted in the Cowichan Bulldogs losing one of their practice sessions was the result of issues surrounding the City’s scheduling policies, and not the fault of one employee, who has taken the brunt of the blame.
The City and the two user groups implicated in the controversy – the Cowichan Valley Football Association and Cowichan Classics Soccer – issued a joint statement on Tuesday trying to clear up the questions.
"There have been issues with the scheduling of the Rotary and McAdam fields this year," the statement read. "In particular, there has been a lot of discussion around the City’s move of youth football to McAdam on Wednesday nights, and the City’s insertion of a classics/masters soccer group into the 6-8 p.m. slot on Rotary for Wednesday nights."
The issue has blown up, particularly on Facebook, where the city official – who plays with the classics soccer team, but does nor bear responsibility for booking the fields, as has been claimed – has been attacked personally.
"Unfortunately, the lack of clear policy guidance for staff members tasked with the duties of scheduling has resulted in an untenable personal attack of one of our valued employees," Mayor Phil Kent lamented. "[He] and all City employees deserve respectful treatment when conducting their duties.
"The cause of the situation is not something that can be placed on one employee. It was a failing of City policies and processes, and the City is working to rectify this situation for future scheduling."
Kent expressed his gratitude to both the CVFA and Cowichan Classics Soccer for helping to resolve the issue.
"City council appreciates that the CVFA board expressed their scheduling concerns directly to the City, and that the personal attacks were not condoned by the board," he said.
CVFA president Loretta Copley emphasized that comments made to the Citizen last week were made by someone who is currently unaffiliated to the football program. The commenter expressed support of the Bulldogs but made some statements that proved to be inaccurate.
"The board wants to clearly state that these comments did not and do not reflect the viewpoint of the board of the Cowichan Valley Football Association," she said. "We do not believe that those type of comments or unfounded allegations are appropriate, nor do they reflect the sportsmanlike conduct that we instill in our players."
Beginning Oct. 22, the Bulldogs will practice on Rotary Park from 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday evenings, and they will make efforts to find an earlier time slot for younger players.
Martin Best, who organizes the Cowichan Classics – which has 45+, 55+ and 60+ soccer teams that play in a Victoriabased league – said that he was unaware when he asked for a Wednesday time slot that the Bulldogs would be displaced.
"The club simply asked for a time slot like other users, and [the city employee] had nothing to do with this request," he emphasized. "The club members support youth sport and are happy that a compromise was able to be reached."