Since the Victoria HarbourCats arrived in 2013 the team’s van has mostly been kept outside the Braefoot Community Association in Saanich.
The two associations have worked closely since HarbourCats managing partner Jim Swanson showed up in 2014.
The van is emblazoned with the HarbourCats logo because the HarbourCats pay for and use it throughout the season. However, the club loans it as a service to support Braefoot, Swanson said. So last month when the van was ticketed not once, but twice, Swanson was more than surprised.
“We don’t lend it to Braefoot because we need a place to park it, we have a place to park it downtown,” Swanson said. “We lend it as a pure community donation. We license it, we maintenance it, and that parking lot is empty.”
Saanich bylaw slapped the van with two fines, each for $25, for parking in the Braefoot Park parking lot. The non-profit Braefoot Community Association leases the building (which it built on Braefoot Park) from Saanich and has a positive relationship with Saanich. However, the association does not have a designated spot in the Braefoot parking lot.
“The tickets aren’t paid for but we think we’ve come to an agreement,” Braefoot Community Association executive director Lee Richardson said.
Richardson said there is still some concern about the advertising on the side of the van. However, Braefoot has other ads sitting high up on the lacrosse box that have gone untouched for years.
“The van’s not there for advertising, it’s there for them to use when we don’t need it for their supplies,” Swanson said.
The Braefoot Community Association offers a variety of community programming unique to Saanich, as it runs programs within Saanich but is independent.
Braefoot Association’s biggest fundraiser of the year is this Thursday (Oct. 25), The Friends of Braefoot Dinner Gala in the CFB Esquimalt Wardroom from 5:45 p.m.
Tickets are still available until Wednesday. Monies raised support Braefoot’s annual low-cost summer camp programs, its aging community centre and its Braefoot bursaries, which support a dozen community-minded post-secondary students towards their educational goals.
In the meantime, Richardson hopes the van’s new spot will work out.
“The van has been great, it can carry nine kids, we use it for all types of activities,” Richardson said. “We think it’s going to work out.”