Domed soccer fa­cil­ity to be built in West Kelowna

The Daily Courier - - WESTSIDE WEEKLY - By BARB AGUIAR

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.

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