© Copyright – 2018 – Victoria Sports News
Election Greater Victoria – 2018 – Mayor’s questionnaire
Each incumbent mayor in Greater Victoria (of which there are 13) have been given an opportunity to share with Victoria Sports News website visitors, their answers to a uniform set of questions related to sport and recreation in their municipality and throughout Greater Victoria.
Greater Victoria refers to the usual communities that make up the “city”: Sooke, Metchosin, Colwood, Langford, Esquimalt, Highlands, View Royal, Saanich, Central Saanich, North Saanich, Sidney, Victoria and Oak Bay.
Greater Victoria is considered a very active community where the people have a very high standard of physical activity in comparison to other cities around North America. In regards to perspectives on recreation, health, fitness, sports, alternative transportation and green initiatives, not everyone is on the exact same page. Below Esquimalt Mayor Barbara Desjardins answers questions about sport and recreation in her community.
The Questions and the Answers – Esquimalt Mayor Barbara Desjardins
VSN: There are several parks in Greater Victoria, Beacon Hill (and the BHP friends society) comes to mind as the most robust. Some have bylaw(s) that discriminate against commercial activity from taking place within the park boundary. Commercial activity can include hanging a sponsor sign (let’s be real here). This often prevents sporting events from taking place in those parks.
What is your opinion on the nature of the bylaw(s) in regards to their effect on your resident’s or community’s ability to host sporting events? Do you have plans to visit preventative-like bylaws and seek to change them?
Mayor Barbara Desjardins: No relevance in Esquimalt. We allow and encourage multiple activities events within our parks but we do not allow a business to set up outside of events.
VSN: What are your plans for infrastructure improvements related to, recreational facilities, playgrounds, ballparks, access to the outdoors for the challenged and civic events?
Barbara Desjardins: Esquimalt has two amenity funds from the CRD which are allocated to recreation and facilities and waterfront parks. Within the agreements with CRD, a robust public consultation process must occur. Esquimalt has hired consultants for this process and a draft of the process and timeline came to council January 15th and will roll out throughout this spring and summer. As well as this we have ongoing park maintenance and upgrading to ensure our facilities and fields are ready for multipurpose activity.
Esquimalt has in the past 10 years done significant upgrades to our Sports Center, Recreation Center, Tennis courts, several playground park upgrades, and added an outdoor activity and water park. I have been a strong advocate for healthy living, events, and activities to be held in Esquimalt. They are important to the health of our community.
VSN: What is your general opinion on Greater Victoria hosting major games such as Commonwealth Games or Pan Am Games?
Barbara Desjardins: General opinion is that this is a wonderful region to host the games. Planning, and appropriate time for infrastructure development ensure successful games like those held in 1994.
VSN: With Greater Victoria’s beautiful sport and recreation-friendly environment, how can the area municipal leaders work together to bring in more sport and recreation tourism? What initiatives may you currently be undertaking?
Barbara Desjardins: Coordination of recreation departments occurs already and they are very active when large events consider our region. Sport-host Victoria (94Forward) and other regional sport associations bring opportunities to Esquimalt and the region. Monthly Mayors lunches provide good opportunity for shared ideas and knowledge about opportunities around the region.
VSN: For the grassroots level sports to have something to strive towards, keeping the top-rung teams in the market is important. Transportation on and off the island is difficult for island teams at all levels, as well as teams that visit the island. Are there efforts to lobby BC Ferries to better accommodate the cost-restrictive ferry fees? Is there anything you would do or endorse in such an effort?
Barbara Desjardins: I would certainly endorse any initiative to enhance access and reduce financial strain on sport organizations at all levels including grassroots and not for profit. The extra challenges of being on an island must be minimized to encourage sport hosting and tourism as well as local talent growth to occur.
There may be grants at BC Ferries and certainly, I would be happy to have discussions with other regional leaders BC Ferries and possibly the province on this.
VSN: Would you challenge area mayors and councillors and candidates in the potential, Victoria Sports News Mayor’s Pickleball Tournament?
Who would you take from your council as a teammate; it would be a doubles tourney. And which mayor or candidate would you like to beat the most?
Barbara Desjardins: Will you give lessons first if it is Pickleball?
I would host a Mayor’s bonspiel at our curling facility at Archie Browning Sports Centre. Many curlers tell us it is the best ice in town.
(For the record, Christopher Kelsall is a running and soccer coach and has yet to play pickleball).
See Sooke Mayor Maja Tait’s answers, here>>