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LETTER: Metchosin residents feel betrayed by Boys and Girls Club

Re: Boys and Girls Club subdividing its Metchosin property.

As I understand it, the Boys and Girls Club has been recorded as saying they support keeping the property in its natural state for both the benefit of their participants and in order to protect the sensitive environment situated within its boundaries, going so far as to suggest at one point they were going to have a protective covenant placed on it. To about face on these intentions is a huge betrayal to the residents of Metchosin and Greater Victoria.

It is a travesty that an organization that has received so much community support, from the six-year fundraising efforts (Create A Ripple) to help them purchase the property and pay off their mortgage, to the generous tax breaks provided by the District of Metchosin over the last 16 years, is taking it all for granted.

It seems disingenuous of the club to suggest that the site is no longer as useful for programming, given the population increases in Langford and Colwood – increases of mainly families with children – supported by their own statements that from 2008 to 2010 the number of youth attending programs on the property increase five-fold. Also, given the COVID pandemic, when isolated and impoverished families are crying out for room to roam in the outdoors, to reduce such access for youth in need is incredibly short sighted. One could go as far as calling it cruel.

Lastly, the complete and utter failure of the club to engage the surrounding community and stakeholders in a meaningful public process, while hiring an expensive lawyer to speak for them is, well, sneaky, and smacks at being underhanded. It suggests they have no care for the community that has supported them so generously over years. For the club’s director/treasurer to say they are being bullied is beyond sanctimonious, and given their handling of this issue, to act surprised that the community responded with protests and petitions is either naive or callous.

Rachel French de Mejia

Metchosin