Cowichan Sportsplex is a success story

The Chesterfield Sports Society treasurer explains why he thinks the Cowichan Sportsplex deserves a yes vote in the referendum.

Editor:

There is a saying that goes along the lines of “why let the truth interfere with a good story”! So here goes with an attempt to assuage any negativity out there at this moment in time.

I have been associated, as treasurer, with the Cowichan Sportsplex since 1999, at which point we had 22 acres under development, an unfinished track, and little liquidity to move forward. The Chesterfield Sports Society had been formed in 1996 at the suggestion of North Cowichan and School District 79, with the complicity of the sporting community. The society was registered as a charitable non-profit to encourage donors who would have tax receipts. The main purpose, and the reason we received initial funding from North Cowichan and School District 79, was to build a track, which had been identified as the most needed component.

As time progressed, we were able to lever the funds that we had available, that we had received as donations from prominent families and businesses, from service clubs making donations of money and time, from national entities such as banks, insurance companies and other major corporations, and funds that we raised from 12 Hour Relays and other sources. The generosity of the community at large has been boundless. And let’s not forget the directors who have worked tirelessly. Space here is limited to mention all and everyone, but we have the records of who you are, and thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.

If you are still with me in this dialogue, you will notice that I have not mentioned the CVRD, and for very good reason. We recognized very early on in the build-out phase that such a request could be problematic. What this did was place a zero tax burden on the CVRD for capital purposes.

Ultimately, we accepted we would have to make an approach to the CVRD board table for operating assistance, as we are truly a regional facility, with users from all areas, and of all ages, who visit the site for many reasons. We hosted the NAIG Games in 2008, a truly wonderful success never since repeated by that organization in North America, and testament to supportive involvement by the whole community. We hosted the BC Senior Games. We will be part of the 2018 BC Summer Games. Many charitable organizations use our site as an assembly point for their annual major fundraising events.

We know going into this referendum that we can lose just as easily as win. But please be aware that the referendum is NOT granting new funds, but reallocating existing funding within the CVRD budget. It is a very small amount when compared to recreational costs in general. Or even a $5 cup of fancy coffee per household. Even if you only vote yes for this facility, go out and do it. We are a success story that deserves it.

Richard Ellis

Treasurer, Chesterfield Sports Society