Colwood is putting the other owners of West Shore Parks and Recreation on notice after rejecting the society’s 2018 budget. (Gazette file photo)

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

Council rejects West Shore Parks and Rec 2018 budget, stating more funding needed

The City of Colwood has voted to reject the West Shore Parks and Recreation Society’s proposed 2018 budget.

“Colwood is fighting for West Shore Parks and Recreation’s survival by advocating for a sustainable financial plan,” said Mayor Carol Hamilton in a statement. “We risk losing West Shore Parks and Recreation if owner municipalities act in their own interests rather than honouring their contractual obligations.”

Council voted to not approve the deficit budget and in a release stated that deficit was caused by the City of Langford rejecting the 2017 budget.

READ MORE: Langford pulls rank in West Shore Parks and Rec budget talks

“Langford has refused to approve the funding requests needed to maintain West Shore Parks and Recreation service levels for their residents,” reads the release. “Langford rejected the 2017 budget on the grounds that their contributions should be reduced because they have invested elsewhere. Langford did not offer to involve West Shore Parks and Recreation in the establishment of other facilities, nor have they proposed any cost sharing agreement related to those facilities for West Shore Parks and Recreation owner municipalities to consider. As a result, West Shore Parks and Recreation has been underfunded, and has had no choice but to propose a deficit budget for 2018 that depletes the organization’s reserves by more than $225,000. This is not a sustainable financial plan.”

West Shore Parks and Recreation is jointly owned and operated by all five West Shore municipalities. The society’s owners’ agreement dictates a governance model and cost distribution formula. That formula takes into account population size and assessment values.

In the past, Langford council has noted its objection to the funding formula and governance model, stating it is unfair as Langford provides a number of recreation facilities that are not operated through West Shore Parks and Recreation but are open to the public.

In 2016, Langford approved the budget but put the society on notice that it would not support other budgets moving forward unless there was “meaningful change” to governance that saw a redistribution of costs amongst the owners and a reduction in Langford’s share.

RELATED: West Shore Parks and Recreation braces for revenue shortfalls

“Sports tourism facilities serve a different market,” Hamilton noted in the same statement. “West Shore Parks and Recreation is where parents and toddlers bond at preschool programs, where friendships are forged on the playing field or the ice rink, where seniors come to socialize and stay active, where generations play and learn together. It is a vital part of the fabric of our community.”

West Shore Parks and Recreation’s operating agreement requires unanimous budget approval by owner municipalities. If any owner rejects the proposed budget, the society is forced to work from the previous year’s budget.

Langford council approved the 2018 budget last month.

If West Shore Parks and Recreation continues to operate with a deficit, the release noted it will likely mean service cuts and could eventually force the shutdown of the society within five years.

According to the City of Colwood, in order to recover from this deficit, the 2019 budget would need an increase of more than six per cent from taxpayers, just to return to previously funded levels. Colwood’s draft 2018 financial plan allocates a larger increase than what was requested by West Shore Parks and Recreation.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

City of Colwood,West Shore Parks and Recreation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Saanich for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

Greater Victoria businesses come together to help Island kids

Langford Lowe’s raises funds for youth mental health all month

Donated sculpture in Sidney’s Beacon Park a testament to perseverance

Victoria artist Armando Barbon picked up sculpting 22 years ago

Sidney builds community resilience through neighbourhood gatherings

Meet Your Street needs residents to create gatherings, safe interactions

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan: Top 5 things you need to know

Jobs training, tax incentives for employers to hire staff and more

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Most Read