Colwood Council is fighting for the long-term survival of West Shore Parks & Recreation by advocating for a balanced and sustainable budget.
Langford budget rejections have forced a deficit
West Shore Parks & Recreation is jointly owned and operated by five municipalities: Colwood, Langford, View Royal, Metchosin and Highlands. The West Shore Parks & Recreation owners’ agreement sets out a formula that determines how much funding each municipality must provide based on how many of their residents use the facilities and services. All the owner municipalities signed on to this contract.
For the past two years, Langford has refused to approve the funding requests needed to maintain West Shore Parks & Recreation service levels for their residents. 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 & Recreation in the establishment of other facilities, nor have they proposed any cost sharing agreement related to those facilities for West Shore Parks & Recreation owner municipalities to consider.
As a result, West Shore Parks & 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.
Colwood Council has voted not to approve this deficit budget and urges owner municipalities to honour their contractual obligations to contribute to a sustainable budget.
Critical risk for West Shore Parks & Recreation
Approving the proposed 2018 deficit budget would create critical risk for West Shore Parks & Recreation, whose operating agreement requires unanimous budget approval by all five owner municipalities. If any owner vetoes next year’s 2019 budget, it will default back to this deficit budget.
Continuing to run at a deficit will certainly mean service cuts and would likely force the shutdown of West Shore Parks & Recreation within five years.
In order to recover from this deficit, the 2019 budget would need to impose an increase of more than 6% on taxpayers, just to return to previously funded levels. Colwood’s draft 2018 Financial Plan allocates a greater increase than West Shore Parks & Recreation has requested, to protect Colwood taxpayers from future tax correction needed to sustain the facilities.
Colwood has supported every balanced budget put forward by West Shore Parks and Recreation. In addition, Colwood further supports West Shore Parks & Recreation by foregoing property taxes on the massive West Shore Parks & Recreation property in Colwood at an approximate value of $736,267.
"Colwood is fighting for West Shore Parks & Recreation's survival by advocating for a sustainable financial plan," said Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton. "We risk losing West Shore Parks & Recreation if owner municipalities act in their own interests rather than honouring their contractual obligations."
"Sports tourism facilities serve a different market," said Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton. "West Shore Parks & 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."
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Sandra Russell, Communications Manager (778-677-5345)