West Shore Parks and Recreation is starting 2013 on a strong note with a new chair, an approved budget and a board better at working together.
So says new chair, Colwood Coun. Rob Martin, who looks forward to projects moving ahead in 2013 and is bringing a positive approach to the often at-odds board.
Martin sees the board getting past its previous differences and moving forward. This year’s budget, for instance, was passed without issue by all of the owners of the society. That has not always been the case.
“There has been differences of opinion when it comes to the owner’s group,” Martin said. “Where we’re at right now is that we’re listening to each other now and we’re respecting those points of view.”
Metchosin Mayor John Ranns agrees the board is functioning far better than it used to, but still believes there are problems. He said the split on the board is still evidenced by the fact only representatives from Langford and Colwood voted in favour of Martin as chair, while View Royal, Metchosin and Highlands representatives supported View Royal councillor Heidi Rast.
With Langford now building an aquatic centre in partnership with the YMCA, Ranns believes it will be time for both Langford and the board to take a new look at the relationship.
“I think things are heading in the right direction,” said Ranns, “but there’s definitely going to have to be an examination of the whole direction, with Langford doing what they’re doing. It’s just not fair to them otherwise.”
Langford councillor and WSPR board member Lanny Seaton said there is still work to be down at the board level before any true advances can be made. He said changes in governance is still essential to getting any future projects accomplished.
“When they get that sorted out then things would run a little bit smoother,” Seaton said. “It’s going along fine, everybody is voting in favour, but are we going to get anything else down there?”
He would like to see a weighted vote for Langford and the other larger municipalities, which are putting in the lion’s share of the funding, over the smaller municipalities.
A study on the governance of the society is ongoing and the deadline for decisions was extended to the end of the year. WSPR administrator Linda Barnes said executive discussions are stemming from the study and decisions around the governance structure will be made within the year.
For 2013 there are plans to bring in more events, including a second Rock the Shores. There are also plans to install new heat exchange in the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre, the heat from which will be transferred to the pool.
A new hotel being built in Colwood across the street is also expected to help bring in more tournaments and large events at WSPR.
“We’re trying to be seen as a hub of community activity where people will come for high-quality sporting events,” WSPR administrator Linda Barnes said. “I think it’s a really good sign that the board is working together, that the board is getting things accomplished.”