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My Response to Questions About Soccer at Royal Athletic Park

I've gotten a few questions lately about Royal Athletic Park and its use by different sports groups, specifically from soccer fans.

First, let me say that the City has hosted some fantastic soccer events, including big events like the Fifa Under 20’s. We continue to seek out these kinds of opportunities to support pro, amateur and youth sports in our community. I also want to stress the that RAP is not the only venue in the city that supports soccer. In fact, many of our youth leagues play out of Topaz Park, a field that meets all the requirements of a full soccer pitch. We will always look for ways to support and foster local sports in our community.

After the loss of the Seals, the City was approached by the West Coast Baseball League about bringing another team to Victoria starting in the 2013 season. Conversations with this league are ongoing, and include a dialogue about ways to meet their needs for their baseball season (that runs about three months of the year) while also meeting other community needs in RAP. I am excited about a new baseball team calling Victoria home.

Up until recently, the Highlanders Football Club called the stadium in Langford home. As they looked for a new home base, the City of Victoria was excited to accommodate them last year at RAP. We will also host them for 2012 and will look to see how that can be facilitated in 2013.

Significant negotiations, like those with the Highlanders and the West Coast Baseball League, are conducted by staff and then presented to council. Obviously, negotiations are not conducted in public, but the final terms are.

Sport is a valuable part of our community, and it is important that we do our best in the city to support all kinds of sports, at all levels, at all of our sporting venues in the city.

I am a big fan of soccer and baseball – of all sports really. I love coaching kids. I appreciate our community’s desire to support and foster sport of all kinds.

Thank you for your interest in soccer and sport in our community.

Dean

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