Soccer and municipality on the same team

Although South Dundas Soccer Association chair Phillip Blancher would like to see better communication  between the municipality and volunteers running various programs it appears that an issue between the municipality and the association has come to an amiable solution.

The municipality of South Dundas had dropped the ball, the soccer ball to be exact, and Blancher didn’t feel it should be the Association that served the penalty that came with a price tag of about $450.

In a letter dated March 5, to South Dundas Public Works Manager, Chris Bazinet, the Association made its annual request for the closure of Lakeview Drive in Iroquois, between College and Elizabeth Streets for the Saturday soccer mornings, beginning May 24 and running through July 25.

In a return e-mail dated Friday, April 11, Bazinet replies: “I am in receipt of your request road closures/parking restrictions in support of South Dundas Soccer Activities. The Municipality will require proof of Liability Insurance in the amount of 5 Million dollars with the Municipality identified as an addition to the policy. Once we receive this document we will proceed with your request.”

In year’s past, the liability amount was $2 million and so the increased amount came as a surprise to the soccer association. It also came with a cost of $450 more for the coverage.

“Our registrations are done,” Blancher told The Leader after the April 11 reply. “If this is a requirement then fine, it’s a requirement, but you have to let people know ahead of time. There was nothing anywhere that I can find that announced this change. The letter was a standard thing we do every year. And our request to close the road is for the safety of the kids, that is why we do it.”

“We purposely budget things down to the wire to keep this program as low cost to the community as possible,” says Blancher. “That is why we are one of the largest programs in the community. We provide a good, length of time program at a low cost.”

Blancher questioned what became of “all of the talk of cutting red tape and making things easier for volunteers working in the community. Last minute changes like this are counter-productive. Ever since we asked that the road be closed it’s been $2 million. The closure saves the municipality, otherwise they would have 400 kids and parents running across the road. It’s done for safety, and it’s done to lower liability.”

“I’m not complaining about the $5 million, but I am complaining about the total lack of communication in this municipality.”

Blancher says the Association is not in bad shape financially, but the money to pay for this unexpected cost will have to be found somewhere. “Registrations are done. Our supplies are ordered, our shirts are ordered, and we are just over a month away from starting.”

Since the soccer association paid the $450 insurance increase to obtain $5 million liability coverage, Blancher has been contacted by Bazinet who has asked for the financial impact the increase will have on the association. In an e-mail dated April 23, he wrote, “I can tell you that any liabilities related to Road Authorities has been moving towards the $5 million mark and our broker has advised us the same. We may be able to do something for this year given the timing of the request.”

And so with everyone apparently back on the same page and working together…it’s game on.

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