Langford council approved its $2.8M portion of the $5,268,635 West Shore Parks and Recreation 2021 budget during a meeting Tuesday.
The total amount requested includes contributions from all owner municipalities and considers operating costs for West Shore Parks and Recreation’s facilities. Langford will contribute $2,827,243 towards the 2021 budget, an increased amount of $158,651 from 2020, as the municipality’s growth rate was higher than other municipal partners.
Langford Mayor Stew Young said the increase in funding towards recreation is important during these challenging times.
“It’s an additional cost for less people to use the facilities than usual, but it is important to keep sports open as much as possible for the community,” said Young. “We will take things year by year, but right now the budget reflects the COVID times, and hopefully next year things will improve and we’ll be in a better position.”
The municipal budget is expected to be complete within the next few months, but Young says Langford is “in good shape financially,” as the community continues to grow, and development keeps finances afloat.
“The natural growth of Langford is covering our expenses, and we are grateful people are still investing here. As long as that support continues, we should get through COVID-19 relatively smoothly,” said Young. “We take recreation seriously, as young families need it. It is a part of our lives here, and we want to continue offering those services safely.”
The 2021 West Shore Parks and Recreation budget includes major projects such as completion of the childcare centre at Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre, as well as upgrades including a floor replacement, new diving boards, a main pool filter replacement, and emergency generator service. The budget also includes projects such as heat exchange and floor LED lighting at the Q Centre, a vehicle replacement, and a recreation software replacement. Some of these costs are covered through previous grant funding.
More expenses include wage increases totalling $142,000 for recreational staff, utility increases of $5,303, and an increased insurance premium of $142,000.
West Shore Parks and Recreation’s operating agreement requires budget approval by 75 per cent of owner municipalities – View Royal, Colwood, Langford, Metchosin and Highlands. As four of five municipalities have approved the requisition so far, it has met the threshold and is now authorized for 2021.