EDITORIAL: Turf field completion a great volunteer effort

A few weeks ago acting mayor Kevin Pearson made an interesting comment about government that’s worth repeating, if only for sake of argument.

Sooke district council was discussing the bureaucracy surrounding the giving away of logs for firewood to local charities, when Pearson said: “This is what happens when government gets involved. We’ve been cutting firewood for charities in Sooke for 150 years and only when we (government) take it over it doesn’t work.”

To many, truer words were never spoken.

Which brings us around to last weekend’s official opening of the new artificial turf field at Fred Milne Athletic Park. The $1.6-million state-of-the art field is one of the biggest facilities of its kind on the South Island.

Once fully operational, soccer, baseball, football, and other sport teams will be able to use the facility in almost any weather. It’s hoped, too, that the field will serve to draw players who had moved to play outside the community back to Sooke. The Sooke Soccer Club has already been approached by teams from other parts of Greater Victoria interested in renting the fully-lighted field.

Yet, would this project been such a success if government’s slogging steps of bureaucracy were involved? Once funding was in place (and we would be remiss not to mention a large financial contribution from local government) it took eight months to complete the project – and it came in under budget.

This, of course, was due to the large commitment from local volunteers and business under the tutelage of the Sooke Community Association and the Sooke Soccer Club. The volunteer hours to make this project a reality would make most communities blush.

Sooke should be proud of its accomplishments, not just with the turf field, but with the many other community amenities built by its volunteers with thousands and thousands of donated hours.

It would be foolish to suggest nothing gets done when government is involved, but the will of the residents and the volunteers to make such projects a success means so much more to a community, than government handing us something on a silver platter.

It’s called Sooke Proud!

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