(Gazette file photo)

Budget for 2018 finally approved for West Shore Parks and Recreation

Organizational review by municipal CAOs moving along

Rick Stiebel/News staff

The future of West Shore Parks and Recreation is back on solid ground now that the 2018 budget has been approved, says Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton. The five West Shore councils comprised of Colwood, Langford, Metchosin, View Royal and the Highlands announced this week that an updated, balanced budget has been unanimously approved.

Colwood Council had originally rejected the proposed 2018 budget in March due in part to concerns about having to run a deficit budget. At issue was Langford’s rejection of the 2017 budget. Langford’s position was that it has invested heavily in recreation facilities not operated by West Shore Parks and Recreation that are open to the public, and its contributions to West Shore Parks and Recreation should be reduced because of that investment.

READ MORE: Colwood predicts downfall of West Shore Parks and Rec unless changes made now

Hamilton said at the time that participating municipalities risked losing West Shore Parks and Recreation if owner municipalities were permitted to act in their own interests instead of honouring their contractual obligations.

That led to an organizational review of West Shore Parks and Recreation Society, which is governed by a board made up of representatives from the five owner municipalities. The owner municipalities agreed to form an interim board of directors consisting of the chief administrative officers from the owner municipalities at the society’s annual general meeting in June. Hamilton said that decision was the result of a complex and lengthy discussion.

READ MORE: West Shore Parks and Recreation Society under new management

Unanimous approval of the budget is “an important first step in securing the long-term future and viability of West Shore Parks and Recreation,” Hamilton said. “Having the CAOs handle the work during the election period was essential to ensure there were no stalls in finding solutions.” Once the election is over, the municipalities can move forward with new representatives in place where required, she noted.

The municipalities are obliged to have a new agreement in place by June of 2019.

“We are committed to having it run optimally,” Hamilton added.

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