Colwood city council has agreed to contribute half of the funds needed for West Shore Parks and Recreation to build an athletic field at the under-construction Royal Bay secondary school.
Council passed the motion unanimously at its Jan. 27 meeting, but the move will still have to be approved by the WSPR board before it can go ahead.
“This is something that Colwood has now proposed,” said Coun. Rob Martin. “Colwood will pay Langford’s share and just (ask) that the other members would contribute what their normal share would be.”
Rough estimates see WSPR, not including Langford, paying $150,000 and the City of Colwood matching those funds.
The move is intended as a way to have the project move forward without using any of Langford’s funding to WSPR. Langford council voted in January to veto the 2014 budget for WSPR because of grievances over Langford funds being used for the proposed Royal Bay field.
Langford, in partnership with School District 62, is building a field for the new Belmont secondary school without funding from WSPR. Councillors there felt it was then unfair to ask Langford to provide the majority of the funding for a field based in Colwood.
Colwood sent a letter to Langford to see if councillors there are comfortable with this arrangement, and if approval of the 2014 budget can now go ahead.
Langford councillor and WSPR board representative Lanny Seaton said he likes the idea and although he can’t commit to anything until council has had a chance to look at a revised budget, he thinks the move could be a solution.
“I would think that goes a long way,” Seaton said. “That was the biggest stumbling block.”
“We did this because we wanted this to happen, we thought of this as important,” Martin said.
The money will come from Colwood’s community amenities fund, which is money earmarked for recreation projects.
Martin agrees this episode is further evidence of governance problems with the parks and recreation society.
“I think this is the true weakness of the owners agreement, is we’re in a position where we’ve allowed municipalities to pick and choose what they want to support,” Martin said. “Almost every municipality has chosen not to participate in something. This isn’t a Langford issue, this is an owners agreement issue, which has to get addressed.”
The current owners agreement expires on June 30.