Velox Rugby Club president Steve Neish and West Shore Parks and Recreation Society administrator Linda Barnes stand in front of the playing field the Valhallians will call home starting in 2015.

Moving forward on West Shore recreation front

Society board, with several new members, meets tomorrow to begin charting its course

With the next round of budgeting being prepared for presentation to municipal representatives, West Shore Parks and Recreation Society chair Rob Martin is enthusiastic about where the organization is heading.

“We have a very functional board right now,” says Martin, a Colwood city councillor who will oversee tomorrow’s (Jan. 22) inaugural 15-member board meeting in the Kinsmen Fieldhouse.

“There have been challenges in the past due to differences of opinions in terms of where our vision should be, but right now everyone seems to be on the same page, so we can really make progress.”

Some of that progress involves more surfaces for the area’s soccer and rugby teams.

“The University (of Victoria) needed the field space that Velox Rugby was using there, so Velox is relocating to our fields and will now call field 1 home, which is great,” he says. As part of that arrangement, West Shore Parks and Rec. is adding an artificial turf on the infield of the velodrome track.

“It’s not enough surface to have full, high-level matches on,” Martin says, “but it’ll be great for (youth soccer games) and for a practice area.”

The society has also partnered with the Sooke School District, paying to install a second field at the new Royal Bay secondary slated to open this fall.

“It’s an excellent arrangement,” Martin says. “During school hours, Royal Bay will have access to both fields, and after school hours, we’ll have access to both fields. When you add it all up, including the new surface in the velodrome, we essentially have an extra two and-a-half surfaces to schedule things on.”

Juan de Fuca soccer will move over to Royal Bay from West Shore Parks and Recreation with Velox taking over the field.

Martin is also happy with the partnership with Rock the Shores festival producer Atomique Productions, which he hopes will provide the region with more arts and culture events in 2015.

“They brought Sam Roberts to The Q Centre a few months ago, so we’re hoping we can get some more mid-sized acts like that. Shows for between 2,000 and 5,000 people.”

One of the main challenges Martin sees moving forward as an organization – and it’s a nice problem to have – is that participation levels are increasing.

He says a few of their facilities are almost at capacity with expanded community interest, and expansion is both costly and controversial.

Because of the way the organization’s governance works – funding comes from the five West Shore municipalities plus Electoral Area E, and each partner has veto power – everything the society does has to be approved unanimously, which will be the challenge when the new budget is presented.

“I think we’ve managed to create something that’s fair for everyone, and all the municipalities have been very supportive of what we’ve been doing,” says Martin, adding he hopes the budget moves forward smoothly.

The board meeting, open to the public, starts at 7 p.m. and includes the election of the chair, vice-chair and finance committee chair, and appointment to the various committees.

Check out what else West Shore Parks and Recreation is up to by visiting westshorerecreation.ca.

mdavies@goldstreamgazette.com

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