Langford football families are facing a longer commute this fall after a neighbourhood dispute about the noise and brightness of floodlights.
Westshore Warriors have used floodlights for fall practices at the Belmont Secondary field for the past three years, said club president Lucy Hansen, but this past year neighbours in the area complained to the Sooke School District. Now SD62 has told the club they can’t use floodlights for their practices, meaning practices have had to be moved to Spectrum Community School in Saanich.
“Some of the kids used to be able to walk as opposed to now we’ll be packing up the whole family and driving into Victoria,” said mom Karla Guthrie, whose son Connor, 13, is in the program.
Guthrie said the move comes at a tough time with gas prices rising, and the longer drive stops her from being able to run errands or go work in the office for a couple of hours during the practice.
There are also some junior coaches who are students at Belmont Secondary who won’t be able to help out because they won’t be able to get to the practices, according to Hansen.
A change.org petition calling on the school to allow floodlit practices has garnered nearly 1,500 signatures. Hansen said the support from the football community has been heartening.
She added that the club is working with SD62 to find a solution for the new year but in the meantime, parents are likely to be stuck driving. The City of Langford is also trying to help find a solution, added Hansen.
“At the Sooke School District, we recognize that our buildings and fields are valuable community hubs where user groups can gather for all sorts of activities. We also understand that our schools are often located in residential areas and it is important to be a good neighbour,” SD62 spokesperson Kristen McGillivray said in an email.
“We have a strong relationship with the Greater Victoria Minor Football Association. We are actively working together to find an amicable solution to address the noise and light concerns brought forward by residents near the Belmont turf field and to find ways to ensure that community athletes have spaces in their home community.”