The West Shore Warriors have a place to play in Langford. The Sooke School District arranged an alternative space after complaints pushed the team off its old practice field.
The junior football program will now be able to run practices at Spencer Middle School on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m.
The team had been playing at the Belmont Secondary field for the past three years, club president Lucy Hansen said in a previous interview with Black Press Media. But this past year, neighbours in the area complained to SD62 about the noise caused by generators used to power floodlights.
In response, the school district had told the football organization it couldn’t practice at Belmont, with the team having to move to Spectrum Community School in Saanich.
“Staff made the best decision based off of the knowledge they had. There was also a fear of potential altercation between the parents of those families as well as the neighbours. We, unfortunately, were aware that there was a neighbour that came out and swore at and was, just obviously, not very neighbourly with the community, which created a certain liability for the school district,” said Ravi Parmar, SD62 board chair.
Parmar added the Spencer solution is temporary, and the team may well go back to Belmont, although it’s more likely to move to the new Centre Mountain Lellum Middle School field.
That school building is expected to open sometime in mid-November.
“We do have students using that field right now on a daily basis – the students that attend Pexsisen. So the field is being put to good use by our students, but we obviously have staff to walk them through it on a special walkway and we work with the construction company. But it just makes it a little bit more difficult for outside user groups because we don’t have staff there at all hours.”
Hansen said she was blown away by the outpouring of support from the community, including parents of team members, other residents and the City of Langford in backing the team in finding a solution.
“This keeps kids in the community and we’ll see what happens going forward.”
Parmar said the school district is working on plans to build more turf fields on the West Shore, with demand for the facilities increasing.
“One of the challenges is everyone wants to play on an all-weather field, and so all of our all-weather fields are booked. So we obviously need more,” said Parmar.
“In fact, there are user groups out from Victoria and Saanich that are wanting to use the spaces as well because they’ve got limitations on the number of turf or all-weather playing fields as well.”
Parmar said details on plans for a new field may be announced in the coming weeks.