All three governments on the Coast have endorsed West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country member of Parliament (MP) John Weston’s call to make the first Saturday in June National Health and Fitness Day on the Coast.
“We have the most beautiful place on earth to celebrate, so why not encourage healthy activities? I’m really delighted that Sechelt, the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) and Gibsons are showing leadership in this,” Weston said this week.
He wants to designate the day in an effort to increase participation in local recreational facilities and help lessen child obesity rates.
The District of Sechelt committed to proclaiming the day at their Feb. 22 committee of the whole.
“On behalf of Mr. Weston, I’d say he’s eager to promote the importance of health and fitness across Canada and signify it by encouraging people to get out and use our facilities in particular and as one way of doing that offer those facilities on that day … at a reduced or a complimentary basis,” Sechelt Mayor John Henderson told council Feb. 22.
Everyone was on board with proclaiming the day, but said the issue of fees for recreation facilities would fall to the SCRD.
The District encouraged the SCRD in their motion to look into the issue and sent a letter to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) asking them to encourage their members to proclaim the day as well.
The Town of Gibsons endorsed the proclamation at their March 6 council meeting, but council also noted they had no say on the price of admission for SCRD controlled recreation facilities.
“We’ll have to amend our resolution a little bit to say that we would encourage the Sunshine Coast Regional District to make the facilities available at a reduced or complimentary basis,” Gibsons Mayor Wayne Rowe said.
SCRD board chair Garry Nohr said the SCRD has already pledged its support to Weston’s proclamation.
“When John Weston was here to present the $2 million at the Regional District, we had the opportunity to talk about his initiative and at the same time pass it and say that we support it fully,” Nohr said.
However, he noted the SCRD was unsure about offering facilities for free or at a reduced rate.
“We haven’t decided that yet because we’re in budget, but first off it’s got to be passed in Parliament, and we did send a message to FCM, which is the head of all the municipalities in Canada, and they were behind it and we told them we are supporting it also,” Nohr said.
Passing the proclamation in Parliament is something Weston hopes to do within the next couple of weeks.
“Within the next week or two you’ll hear about it. I’m really very excited about something that could be a real national legacy just as the private member’s bill that I got passed was a legacy for the whole country and that dealt with crystal meth and ecstasy. I’m hoping that this can again show leadership from our riding in something that we care about,” Weston said.