Rental fees and whether the Cowichan Valley Soccer Association will have to pay them at the David Williams Field hit the council table last Wednesday.
David Williams Field is the new synthetic turf field at Sherman Road Park, finished last year.
The municipality would collect the fees to assist in the offset of operating and establishing a capital replacement reserve.
The CVSA has requested that because of their $300,000 contribution to the municipality, the youth rentals for the facility be exempted for a period of 10 years. This would represent $30,000 per year in rental fees.
“It was never my understanding that there was going to be some kind of quid pro quo,” said Coun. Al Siebring, with Mayor Jon Lefebure clarifying that it wasn’t a conditional or quid pro quo, but rather a separate request.
Nonetheless concerns remained.
“Why should North Cowichan taxpayers pay for providing a luxury field?” asked Coun. Joyce Behnsen after reading from a letter sent by residents who had disruptions and unauthorized parking in and near their driveway near the field.
“It’s a tricky one, it sort of takes away from the original deal,” added Coun. Maeve Maguire.
Director of Parks and Recreation Ernie Mansueti said it was always the plan to charge fees, which in his estimation were modest and fair compared to those of similar municipalities.
“It was always our intention to charge fees for this field,” he said, adding suggested fees would be “some of the lowest around.”
Council passed a motion to refer the matter back to staff to consider other options and fully analyze fee arrangements in similar situations before making a revised recommendation to council. The motion passed six to one, with Coun. Tom Walker the sole opposed.