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Vic High’s Promised Metric Track Now at Risk Due to Lack of Transparency in Land for Monies Deal Between the City of Victoria, CRHC and GVSD.

Local Advocacy group Friends of Vic High expose undisclosed information that details how land grab may negatively impact Vic High students.

The Friends of Vic High (FOVH), a group of community advocates, including Vic High alumni Moe Elewonibi, a former NFL / CFL footballer and Superbowl champion, and Hans de Goede, former captain of Canada’s national rugby team, is asking the GVSD, the City of Victoria and Vic High’s Alumni Association, to keep their promise to donors, and current and future Vic High students.

The group claims a lack of transparency by the GVSD, the City of Victoria and the CRHC in regards to their undisclosed land use plans that now threaten the buildout of the standard, 8-lane metric track for Vic High’s Memorial Stadium Revitalization Project – a key element of the much-publicized project championed by the Vic High Alumni since 2012. Nearly $600,000 has been raised over the years from private supporters and alumni, the Bays United Football Club, and a $250,000 matching contribution from City of Victoria, the latter now seemingly working against its own prior commitment.

Esther Callo, a Fernwood resident and co-founder of the group, has been leading the investigation for nearly two years. Her review of undisclosed plans and documents obtained by her via the freedom of information act appears to reveal a series of back-room dealings poised to once again disadvantage Vic High students.

The information presented by the FOVH details how the City of Victoria, the GVSD and the CRHC worked together to orchestrate a land lease for money deal, arguing the funds were needed to make up a shortfall in the budget for Vic High’s seismic upgrade, even though a budget shortfall was never fully itemized for public review— this seemingly at the same time the City of Victoria and the GVSD were supporting the envisioned stadium plans that include a metric track, an artificial turf field, and lighting.

“The lack of transparency that now threatens the promised Memorial Stadium Revitalization plans is appalling, and another example of how Vic High often gets the short end of the stick. We want this to stop with all parties keeping their promise to current and future students”, commented Ms. Callo.

Even more egregious the group points out, is that the housing site plans presented to the public during the CRHC consultation process did not match the actual “undisclosed” plans obtained by Ms. Callo which clearly show the housing development needing more space than the proposed lease allows to comply with setback requirements – space critical and necessary to build the promised standard,  8-lane metric track for Vic High.

The Friends of Vic High are demanding that the housing project be stopped or altered to ensure that the promised Vic High Memorial Stadium revitalization project can move forward as envisioned and promised.

“You can’t raise and commit funds for a project and then turn around and change those plans behind closed doors”, noted Stephen Dorsey a Vic High alum and group member, and one of the leading advocates that helped stop Vic High from being demolished more than two years ago.

“I think the Minister of Education should explain to BC taxpayers how the Capital city’s namesake public high school for nearly 145 years continues to be treated so poorly under the guise of budget and resource constraints when the province spends nearly $500 million dollars a year to subsidize private schools across the province. In an era where we are seeking more equity and equality across the board, this makes zero sense”, added Dorsey.

When we examine the actions of the GVSD, the City and even the Vic High Alumni Association, it appears the Friends of Vic High are the only ones really looking out for the best interest of the students - working to ensure they are treated with fairness and equality. Like students at other schools in the district, Vic High students should be provided with the resources and support they need and deserve so that they too can begin their life journey from an even starting line. We all know that this second class treatment has been going on for decades, it’s time to put a stop to this systemic inequality.

The FOVH has assembled key documents to support their position and is also asking for a fully transparent, public inquiry into the matter and most importantly, to go back to the original plans and deliver the amenities promised.

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About the Friends of Vic High (FOVH):

The Friends of Vic High (FOVH), formed by Esther Callo, Taki Niketas and Stephen Dorsey, is a group of community advocates and former Vic High alumni who are seeking to have the originally envisioned Memorial Stadium Revitalization Project for Vic High built and delivered as promised. The group’s sole interest is advocating for the rights of current and future students of Vic High as it relates to this project and to ensure equality of treatment and opportunity.

Stephen Dorsey, Co-Founder,

Friends of Vic High
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