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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 – Highlands Mayor Ken Williams
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 Ken Williams:
Generally, Highlands doesn’t have a problem with sponsorship signs at 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?
Ken Williams: We have just completed an upgrade to our kid’s playground at Twinflower Park after successfully applying for a Canada Infrastructure Grant. Our new community hall on Finlayson Arm Road has been fabulous for events such as the Highlands Firefighters Hallowe’en Bonfire and Volunteer Appreciation Night. Annual events such as the 25km race, Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria, and biking speed trials run through our parks and municipal roads.
As a member of Westshore Parks and Recreation, we support the creation of a new skateboard park. Highlands sponsored a grant to provide nighttime lighting on the soccer fields and an all-access trail at the JDF facility. Highlands is 39% park, providing recreation and trails for the Capital Region.
VSN: What is your general opinion on Greater Victoria hosting major games such as Commonwealth Games or Pan Am Games?
Ken Williams: The Region has been and continues to be an outstanding destination for all kinds of major sporting events.
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?
Ken Williams: Highlands is a member of the South Island Prosperity Project that is very active in promoting the Capital Region. Seventeen of the 18 Bear Mountain Jack Nicholas Valley Course links are located in Highlands as are the new Bear Mountain Clay Tennis Courts. Highlands and CRD are just finishing the land registration of the Mary Lake connector that completes a 25 km hiking loop through Gowlland Todd Provincial Park, Mackenzie Bight, Mount Work and Thetis Lake Park.
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?
Ken Williams: I think the BC Ferries should be a part of the Highway system with lower rates for all, but sure, I would endorse help for the teams.
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 double tourney? And which mayor or candidate would you like to beat the most?
Ken Williams: I know Councillor Karel Roessingh enjoys tennis, so I think that would translate to pickleball. Mayor Nils Jensen is very competitive when we team up for croquet, so he would be a fun opponent.