Domed soccer facility to be built in West Kelowna
Thanks to a recent $450,000 grant from the province, the Westside Youth Soccer Association has enough funding to work with the City of West Kelowna in proceeding with a site selection process for a Super 8 domed soccer facility.
Christy Clark presented the cheque to Stuart Wright, president of the Westside Youth Soccer Association, and Matthew Whitt, treasurer of the association, at the end of March.
The Westside suffers from a lack of soccer facilities for youth, said Wright. Playing space is at a premium and soccer can’t be played on natural turf in West Kelowna until the end of April.
The proposed Super 8 dome will have a threequarter sized artiÀcial turf Àeld. The association had already raised the needed $150,000 for artiÀcial turf.
The Teflon dome would cover the field from around Thanksgiving until late April, allowing youth to play and train throughout the winter. In the spring, the dome would be removed and stored and the Àeld would be part of the Àeld inventory. The dome has a life span of 20 to 25 years. The field size is optimal for Westside Youth Soccer because three-quarters of the association’s players are from U6 to U12 and can play a game on the Àeld. The U13 to U18 division players can still play eight men to a side and have a nearly regulation soccer match in the winter.
The dome will be like the one in Kelowna next to the H2O Adventure Centre .
At Tuesday night’s West Kelowna council meeting, Gord Wiebe from Westside Youth Soccer told council the dome will cost about $115,000 annually to operate, using Àgures from the Kelowna soccer dome.
Along with Westside Youth Soccer, potential users for the new soccer dome could include the
Vancouver Whitecaps and Thompson Okanagan Football Clubs, the school district and community leagues. The dome would be up some 150 days a year and could generate about $208,000 from users, not including any money for naming rights or sponsorship. This Àgure was generated using fee schedule from the Kelowna soccer dome.
Soccer is the fastest-growing sport in North America and with more than 1,000 registered players between the ages of six and 18, the Westside Youth Soccer Association is the largest amateur sport organization in West Kelowna.
The city has budgeted $137,000 for planning and $330,000 for construction of the soccer dome in its 2017 capital budget.
Discussions with City of West Kelowna Recreation and Cultural Services department regarding the best site for the soccer dome will begin immediately and the association hopes to have the dome up and running for the fall; however, the options for the soccer dome on city owned land are limited. Plans for the soccer dome at Anders Park were rejected as the site was too small.
Potential school district sites will also be considered.
The goal is to have a report coming back to council by summer.
While Coun. Duane Ophus understood the city had a lot of projects on the go, he wanted to see progress sooner.
“Coming back to council in two or three or four months to me is not acceptable,” said Ophus. “I think we have to be on this project because we should be able to get this thing done and built this year.”
The city will also look at preparing a terms of reference contract, so the expectations from the Westside Youth Soccer Association and the City of West Kelowna are consistent and there are no surprises, said Jim ZafÀno, West Kelowna’s chief executive ofÀcer.