Port Renfrew taxpayers will no longer provide funding towards the Sooke and Electoral Area Parks and Recreation Commission, also known as SEAPARC, in Sooke.
Mike Hicks, director for the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area, asked Sooke council that Port Renfrew be removed from the annual requisition, as the residents rarely if ever use the facility.
“It takes an hour and a half on a good day, a week on a bad day depending on road conditions, for Port Renfrew people to get to Sooke and use SEAPARC,” Hicks said. “Kids after school go straight home on the bus back to Port Renfrew.”
Most of SEAPARC’s funding comes from user memberships, and the rest is made up by local taxpayers.
The requisition for SEAPARC, which totals about $2.8 million annually, will now come from two sources: Sooke and the Juan de Fuca.
Port Renfrew taxpayers only contributed about $20,000 annually towards operating the recreation facility.
“It won’t make a dent in the overall requisition, and it won’t dramatically increase anyone’s taxes,” Hicks said.
“The bottom line is that Port Renfrew residents were not using SEAPARC much or at all. I am grateful for the Sooke mayor and council for recognizing fairness, and happy for the people of Port Renfrew who won’t have this on their taxes anymore.”
Al Beddows, Sooke councillor and chair of the SEAPARC commission, said SEAPARC and council voted unanimously to let Port Renfrew go.
“We did a study to see where most of our SEAPARC users were from, and found only one person from Port Renfrew was consistently using the facility,” Beddows said. “Nothing was supporting them staying in the requisition.”
Beddows said with the growth in Sooke over the last year, taxpayers likely won’t notice a difference in the amount, as the cost is divided equally among households.
“It was a tiny percentage coming from Port Renfrew, and quite frankly, they weren’t getting anything out of it,” he said.