Monday March 6, 2023 | LANGFORD, BC
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
The City of Langford council at their March 6, 2023 regular council meeting this evening voted unanimously to include $950,000 within their 2023 budget to fund the struggling Westhills YM/YWCA for one year.
From what source that will be funded (tax increase or draw from reserves) will be decided through the upcoming budget process, said Director Finance Mike Dillabaugh.
The Y facility had been operated at a significant loss, but has continued to serve the community as a vibrant and reliable recreation facility.
The City has been responsible for the lease which is payable to Westhills Land Corp.
Tonight’s motion includes a direction to staff to organize a “comprehensive operational review of the YMCA governance and operating structure” of the Y.
One member of the public during public participation suggested that operations be done by the Westshore Parks & Recreation Society (an entity that is supported by the City of Langford to the tune of about 50%, with the other partners being the municipalities of View Royal, Metchosin, Colwood and Highlands).
Many people used the Y for the first time (or more) during the pandemic years of 2002 and 2021.
Details of the motion:
Here is the full motion as approved by City of Langford Council on March 6, 2023:
Part of the debate during budget discussions will likely include the previous council’s propensity to keep taxes low (at approximately 2% per year for 30 years) and whether that is a direction that this new council (elected in October 2022) wishes to go.
The alternative to draw down the reserves would have “pros and cons”, as Dillabaugh pointed out. The obvious problem with drawing down the reserve is having less money for other emergencies or unexpected needs that might pop up. The benefit to using the reserve is avoiding a tax increase on residents at this time (especially as grinding inflation for a year has created a recessionary impact in the economy — people are spending less wherever they can, and this is having a ripple effect within the business community.
Another long meeting:
Tonight’s City of Langford council meeting was another long one, particularly due to extensive public participation. The meeting started at 7 pm and went in-camera around 10:45 pm.
===== ABOUT ISLAND SOCIAL TRENDS:
Island Social Trends is a news portal online at islandsocialtrends.ca since 2020, as the evolution of the previous West Shore Voice News (2014-2020), which before that was Sooke Voice News (2011-2013) and before that MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010). All these publications have reported in-depth on community growth in the west shore of Greater Victoria on south Vancouver Island.
Mary P Brooke is the founder, editor and publisher of all those publications.