By Carson Papke ISN
A community project is in the works to bring the life back to the large outdoor space behind Spectrum Community School.
The massive undertaking is proposing to take a goose infested and hole riddled area to turn it into a community and recreational hub for the Greater Victoria area. The goal is to turn the unusable grass field and give it a facelift that will invite sports and community to the area which has been underutilized over the last few years.
Spectrum Community School Athletic Director, Dominic Butcher, and Principal, Bruce Bidney, are heading up the fundraising committee looking to raise $3.5 million to build a double turf field to house multiple sports and activities. This is a combined project that is getting support from the Vancouver Island Soccer League, Songhees Nation, KidSport of Greater Victoria, the school district and other indigenous groups.
“It is a project that includes a lot of community stakeholders,” said Butcher. “People can get involved in a number of ways. They can become part of our fundraising committee, they can provide feedback, or simply make a donation at starproject.ca”
The website Butcher mentioned is the hub for the project that gives an overview of what changes are proposed and information on how people can support it. There is a monetary threshold they will need to meet with donations to be able to access a multimillion-dollar grant from the federal and provincial governments.
“This means a lot for our school as we are looking for more outdoor space and more areas for kids to grow and prosper,” said Bidney. “It would be great to build our community surroundings. It would give us a place to offer our Marigold neighbours and family of schools. We would like to offer a place for all these kids to play and offer a stronger community.”
The large grassy space has been taken over by hungry geese that also leave an inordinate amount of dung. The geese have created holes from digging out their dinner and after years of abuse, the turf is an injury and hygiene problem. Drainage lines installed in the 1980’s are also sinking which has forced the school to relocate their football and soccer programs. This large space now just lies empty most of the year.
The school has not tried to use this as a farm program or teaching moment as the geese can be very hard to work with. The school’s attempts of using decoys and other humane ways of chasing the geese away have been futile. The only solution left is transforming this space into something usable and take away the reason for the geese to stop here every fall and winter.
“We might dress me up in an Olaf costume to chase the geese off and use it as a fundraiser,” Bidney chuckled.
“This project is giving us a chance to get our focus off the way the world is now and look to something brighter for our future. It gives us something to look forward to and be excited about.”
Butcher also says this project is addressing something that is very important to the fabric of the community and its relationship with the indigenous community. It is important for this committee to address Truth and Reconciliation and it’s call to actions.
“We have partnerships with the Songhees Nation and Native Indian Football Association, and the Thunderbird Soccer association,” said Butcher. “I am really excited about those relationships. Also, the KidSport of Greater Victoria support is there as well where we hope to be running some programs out of the school and help those families that are the most vulnerable.”
“This project will be transformative not only for our school but for the community as a whole.”
With the growth of the greater Victoria community and a need for more usable recreation space, this project will give more options to groups who struggle to find that space when needed. It will be a chance to bring a positive affect to so many groups and people.
“It is a well-rounded project that includes indigenous neighbours, non-profits and community groups,” said Butcher. “This really isn’t just about soccer or sports; it is about creating environments for kids to find empowerment and the community to get a space that is usable for anybody throughout the year.”
For more information on this great community initiative visit starproject.ca.