Election Responses

Questions to Candidates

Dear SCYSA Members and friends,

We sent the letter we shared with you to every candidate with an email address we could locate.

Many candidates have responded and we thank them for taking the time to address this issue that is important to all of us.

Please read on, below, to see how the candidates answered. The SCYSA has not attempted to rank the candidates and we urge you to read their responses carefully and judge for yourself how their answer might influence your vote. 

Don't forget to continue to ask all candidates to come up with, and commit to, specific actions and investments that will improve fields on the coast for our kids and our community. And let's hold them to it if they are elected!

Sincerely,

Jay Ritchlin, President
on behalf of the SCYSA BoD



Dear Candidates for 2018 local elections on the Sunshine Coast,

The Sunshine Coast Youth Soccer Association is a coast-based, volunteer run B.C. non-profit society whose mission is “to provide an opportunity for all children aged 6-17 to play recreational soccer in a safe, supportive, sporting environment and at an affordable price.”

We are asking all candidates to formally endorse the creation and implementation of a long-term investment and maintenance plan for the playing fields of the Sunshine Coast. Do you support this idea as a high priority for the youth and health of our community? We would like to report your responses to our members and via our website.

The Sunshine Coast has kids who need healthy, outdoor, athletic things to do. Many adults also participate in these activities for fitness, recreation and friendship. Field-based sports like soccer are popular and affordable in our communities. 

Yet the playing fields of the Sunshine Coast are in very poor condition, for the most part, and suffer from one, or a combination of, the following problems:
  • Poor playing surface (surface is uneven, has irregular grass coverage, or unsafe holes)
  • Poor drainage that causes severe-to-complete un-playability in “the rainy season”
  • Poor design and water management that cause excessive field closures in the “dry season”
  • Estimates vary for fixing these things from about $150,000 for resurfacing and water improvements at some key fields to $1.5 million to get everything we currently have up to a good, maintainable quality. 
These are reasonable investments in the health and enjoyment of our kids and adults and also in the reputation of our community. We regularly host teams from off-coast and they often make extremely negative comments on the poor quality of our fields, including filing formal complaints to the referees and the BC Coastal League. These complaints could lead to games being forfeited by coast teams and possibly other sanctions or fines against our volunteer sport associations. 

The field owners are a mix of municipal, regional, school district and the Sechelt Nation and do their best to maintain the fields they manage. Community volunteer groups like the Sunshine Coast Youth Soccer Association also spend money, staff and volunteer time lining the fields for sport and assisting in observing and maintaining field quality. 

Numerous volunteers from all over the coast have tried for years to come up with workable solutions. Many would volunteer more time to assist in these efforts.

However, it is not possible to make a field that is not built properly into a high quality playing surface. Nor can a group of ad hoc volunteers easily solve a coast-wide problem that requires government approvals, cooperation and investment. 

If elected, will you support prioritizing this necessary investment for our community, kids and future, in policy, budget allocation and direction to staff over the next municipal term? Please send a response, brief or detailed, to president@scysa.ca that we can share with our members.

Sincerely,

 
Jay Ritchlin, President
On behalf of the Board of the Sunshine Coast Youth Soccer Association

Aleria Ladwig

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Aleria Ladwig's Response to Sunshine Coast Youth Soccer Association.

Having two young children myself I understand how important soccer is to Sunshine Coast communities.  As you mention in your letter, one of the things that makes soccer such a great physical activity for kids is its affordability. There are many excellent extra-curricular programs on the Coast (I think our communities excel in this regard), but many can be cost-prohibitive for some families.


With this in mind, I would support prioritizing your association’s request to upgrade our sports fields, and would be happy to encourage our council and the SCRD to do the same. I would want more information, of course, such as when the last significant investment was made in our sports fields and by whom. But it sounds like a reasonable request and a good investment in our infrastructure and our kids.


What makes this request particularly timely is that there are funding sources available right now that I think this project would be eligible for – at least the upgrade component. As you probably know, finding capital funding through federal and provincial programs is always easier than finding ongoing operational funding, which has to be found through already tight municipal budgets. 


If you would be willing to work with me, I think council could apply to the new Canada
Infrastructure Plan to do this. On April 2, 2018, the federal and B.C. governments signed an agreement for long-term infrastructure projects. It will make available, over the next
decade, more than $4.1 billion in federal funding under the Investing in Canada plan. The
projects supported through this agreement will be cost-shared with the British
Columbia government, municipalities and other partners.  Under this initiative, there are four funding envelopes including:

  • Public transit;
  • Green infrastructure;
  • Community, culture, and recreation infrastructure; and
  • Rural and northern communities.

I am on a steep learning curve here, but one of the things I’d like to do if elected is partner with community associations like yours to apply for all sorts of different funding programs, as there are many to be had at the moment relating to children, seniors, climate change, affordable housing, and so on. I believe it is through partnerships like these that real community change can happen.


Cheers,

Aleria

Bruce Milne

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Bruce Milne's Response to Sunshine Coast Youth Soccer Association

Good morning.

As I understand it – soccer is the major participatory sport in Canada and on the Sunshine Coast participation among youth far eclipses any other sport.  

I can make an honest commitment that we will have a strong priority for fields within the District of Sechelt’s control.  That means making sure fields are usable throughout the year. (We need to think about ice all year for youth training as well, but that is another story.)  Usable fields means proper maintenance , top dressing , good all weather equipment (nets). We have been well served by the improvements to lighting at Kinnikinnick -that makes a strong argument for lights on other fields, if appropriate.  As the mayor I do what I can to support youth sports and activities – it is crucial to the social health of our community and helps ensure that youth have the appropriate direction in life as they mature.

Bruce Milne


Tom Lamb

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Tom Lamb's Response to Sunshine Coast Youth Soccer Association

Good morning 

My daughter played for the scorpions years ago. It was always disappointing when a team from Vancouver was coming up in the winter you were always scrambling for a place to play.

I have had employees that have there young ones playing and it still seems to be a problem in the winter.
soccer is a great sport and needs the support of the community.

Regards

Tom Lamb 

Annemarie De Andrade

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Annemarie De Andrade's Response to Sunshine Coast Youth Soccer Association

My apologies for being late in replying, and because I had to do some research (I don't have young children that use sports facilities). I have learned that the SCRD maintains over 400,000 square feet of playing fields on the Sunshine Coast.  In Gibsons, Brothers Field(s) is reserved by the SCRD.  These fields I fully understand are poorly kept.  I am very committed to youth sports - my children are grown-ups now, but without fresh air, sunshine, and activity, they would not be as well-balanced as they are today.  My son, now 29 years old, still plays soccer twice a week in Vancouver.  


It is critical to keep children involved and active and I fully support a long-term investment and maintenance plan for the playing fields of the Sunshine Coast. I also believe this is a high priority for the youth and health of our community.   


If elected, I will look at how budget priorities are being established for youth/sports and work towards securing funding and collaborating with the SCRD to improve maintenance and overall soccer field conditions.


Keep in touch.
Best Regards,
Annemarie De Andrade
Candidate for Gibsons Council

Brenda Rowe

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Brenda Rowe's Response to Sunshine Coast Youth Soccer Association

Thank you for reaching out to the Candidates with your questions and concerns.

My dedication to youth sports on the Coast is well documented. My sons played soccer and hockey and I spent 8 years on the Minor Hockey board advocating for our youth. None of our youth sports organizations would be alive at all without volunteers. To be honest, I have not felt that our local governments have recognized the value of that to the degree that they should. I also know that our community is missing out on the economic benefit of us being able to produce events due, in the case of soccer, poor quality fields. There is plenty of evidence showing the smaller the community, the greater the economic benefit that youth sports can provide. So, by investing in our youth, we invest in our own economy.

Personally, I think a Youth Sports Council, which would include representation from local governments, would help to highlight the needs and priorities of all of our non profit youth sports organization. Field concerns for soccer must be echoed by baseball and softball I would think.

Long answer for a short question! We have many challenges ahead of us for sure but if we are indeed dedicated to attracting young families, and keeping the ones we have, we have to have some focus on youth sports. I would be advocating hard for a master fields plan, that has a funding plan attached. 

While I generally focused on youth in this answer, obviously there is a huge adult component with soccer, softball/fast pitch and hockey as well. Dealing with these issues will put our words into action around having active communities.

Let's get everyone to the table. At the end of the day it doesn't matter what, or how many, sports kids play. Just so long as they are in the game!


Many thannks
Brenda Rowe
Candidate
Sechelt Council

Carol Doyle

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Carol Doyle's Response to Sunshine Coast Youth Soccer Association

Thanks for you letter outlining your concerns about the soccer fields on the Coast.     I have three grandchildren playing soccer, one is Squamish, one in Calgary and one who is the goalie for the varsity team at UNBC.   Today she is playing in snow against University of Calgary.

Soccer is a very popular and growing sport both for players and spectators and out youth deserve good playing fields.   When elected I will encourage the mayor and council to look into the issues with the fields in Gibsons and try to find a solution to create a better, safer place for our youth.

Sincerely
Carol Doyle