© Copyright – 2018 – Victoria Sports News
© Copyright – 2018 – Victoria Sports News
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 Highlands Mayor Ken Williams answers questions about sport and recreation in her community.
The questions and the answers – Sooke Mayor Maja Tait:
Maja Tait was first elected to Sooke Council in 2008. She served two consecutive terms on Council before being elected as Mayor in 2014.
See full bio, here>>
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 Maja Tait:
Sooke’s playing fields are owned and operated by the Sooke Community Association. In recent years, council provided a $700,000 grant for the all-weather turf field that opened last December 2017.
These playing fields do have sponsorship signs which likely assist the association with the cost to maintain and operate these well-used facilities.
Signage is governed by our Sign Bylaw, and the Bylaw allows for sponsorship signage at playing fields.
Council has supported the Sooke Horseshoe Club by way of a grant and use of the Sooke River Park for this activity and worked with SEAPARC to establish a bike skills park on their lands.
Regarding other parks within our municipality, A Park Use Application is available off our website for special events, hosted by commercial and not-for-profit organizations. A $500 refundable damage deposit and proof of insurance is required prior to the event. This seems very reasonable to me.
Link to: Park Use Application Form
VSN: What are your plans for infrastructure improvements related to, recreational facilities, playgrounds, ballparks, access to the outdoors for the challenged and civic events?
Mayor Maja Tait: Infrastructure improvements/replacement is ongoing in our community. Three of our parks have had failing staircases that have been replaced, or are in the process of being replaced. Playground equipment in Broomhill Park has been ordered and we are waiting for the new structure to be installed.
Ed MacGregor Park has an accessible walkway that zigzags through the trees to our popular marine boardwalk.
John Phillips Park had multi-use trails installed in 2016 that have since improved access throughout this popular park.
Council’s priorities, reflected in our Financial Plan, confirm a commitment to improving roads, sidewalks and park infrastructure.
Within this term, Council has established our own parks department (previously all contracted out); with an equipment budget that has made a significant positive impact to many areas within our community.
VSN: What is your general opinion on Greater Victoria hosting major games such as Commonwealth Games or Pan Am Games?
Maja Tait: Generally speaking, I would support major games to be hosted by Greater Victoria. It is important though that a business case be provided for review by Council in open meetings.
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?
Maja Tait: Many of our outdoor recreation assets are owned and operated by the CRD. Municipalities can work together on the Board to bolster the sport and recreation tourism. For example, the Sea to Sea Regional Park has opened recently and improvements to mountain bike trails, back-country camping and so forth is well underway.
It may be necessary for the Board to consider a Mountain Bike Policy so local Bike Clubs can coordinate and plan events in this park, and I am currently working with local groups on this matter.
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?
Maja Tait: The AVICC Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities has been advocating on behalf of its membership (which Sooke is) for more affordable ferry rates and service.
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?
Maja Tait: I would participate in the Pickleball Tournament for sure; I think it is a great idea and would be a lot of fun. Since I have not played this sport before, I have already asked my Council and have two councillors (with pickleball experience) willing to play and/or cheer our team on, provided they are available on the tournament date.
Since my sporting techniques are limited and non-existent, best I work towards achieving the participation ribbon ;o).