Sidney councillor wants CRD out of local recreation

Sidney councillor Tim Chad is floating change when it comes to one of his passions.

Sidney councillor Tim Chad is floating change when it comes to one of his passions.

A 19-year local politician, Chad has been involved with recreation on the Saanich Peninsula since 1988. That’s when he was first elected and found himself appointed to the Saanich Peninsula Recreation Commission. He has served in that capacity ever since and has watched his own family derive hours of happiness using the services of places like the Panorama Recreation Centre.

Yet, more recently, Chad has become disenchanted with the administrative and governance functions currently handled by the Capital Regional District. And for a while now, Chad has been suggesting that it’s time the three municipalities on the peninsula take over.

“We’ve got probably one of the best recreation systems, bar none, in Greater Victoria,” he said.

“In my mind, I think we could do (the services currently done by the CRD) on the peninsula.”

Chad has compiled a list of what the three municipalities pay the CRD for IT services ($67,000), human resources ($88,000) and finance and corporate services ($119,000).

That’s on top of the $3.75 million that Sidney, North Saanich and Central Saanich pay for recreation services and facilities on the peninsula.

Chad said the dollar amounts probably wouldn’t change if the municipalities took over administration duties, saying only that the recreation commission could funnel that money to local service providers instead.

Based on that, and an admitted distrust of the CRD, Chad said it’s time to start thinking about whether local control of recreation services appeals not only to the three municipalities, but to taxpayers as well.

“The CRD owns nothing,” he continued. “They are the tax collector for our rec. services and the municipalities have to sign off on the budget anyway.”

Chad said the CRD was asked to handle the administrative duties back in the late 1970s, when Central Saanich pulled out before an arena and pool facility were built following a referendum in 1976.

Chad said the CRD was asked to become the third party to handle administration and to help set up the commission itself.

Central Saanich re-joined the commission later on, taking the place of a CRD-appointed director. The other directors are made up of appointees from the councils and public from all three municipalities to form a board of nine. It’s this body that Chad said he thinks can handle the job of administrating recreation on the Saanich Peninsula.

He said he is open to other ideas on a change in governance, but first he hopes his move will gain traction in the community. An earlier attempt to get the subject on a tri-municipal meeting this year failed when he was struck ill and was not at the table to fight for his idea.

Chad added it’s not as though the CRD hasn’t done its job, in fact he said he doesn’t have many issues in that regard. He said, however, that with other matters facing the CRD in the future, it might be time to make a change.

Chad said he hopes his idea catches on, adding he will bring it up with his own council, at the tri-municipal setting and with the recreation commission. He said he hopes it will at least be given serious thought.