A local soccer club wants the three municipalities on the Saanich Peninsula to pitch in $1.3 million towards two artificial turf fields at Blue Heron Park in North Saanich.
This figure appears in a report from the Peninsula Football Club (PFC) sent to North Saanich, Sidney and Central Saanich councils. The report said that the club would commit between $200,000 and $300,000 in-kind funding towards the project, which the club would like to see get underway this spring.
The report said the two current grass fields at the park are subject to “frequent, unexpected closures” that leave the local soccer community unable to host any games or practices. “In the past, Blue Heron and the clubs’ other fields have at times been closed for multiple weeks, sometimes even longer,” it reads. “This is a huge disadvantage to our soccer club, a hindrance to our [players’ development] and distraction to our players and parents alike.”
According to club information, more than 600 youth players and almost 100 adult players have signed for the club’s fall season.
According to the report, PFC has been playing at Blue Heron Park for 15 years.
“It is the heart of the local soccer community and the addition of turf fields will only help to promote this culture and help the sport grow,” it reads.“The existing world-class lighting and the recent addition of the PFC clubhouse are further reasons why Blue Heron is not only the logical choice for such a turf field complex, but in reality the only choice for such a facility.”
The report predicts that artificial turf fields would improve the area’s overall health and well-being, allow the club to schedule games throughout the year and place the area on par with other area soccer organizations both off and on the field.
“Having artificial fields will also enable to us to host tournaments, which will have a positive impact on the local economy,” it says, claiming that a family with one child playing in a weekend tournament can bring up to $1,000 into the local economy.
“Sport events can play a significant role in generating tourism activity, with positive economic and social benefits for a community,” it reads. “Sports tourism is increasingly being recognized as a productive focus for tourism and general economic development.”
Listed long-term goals include hosting Canada’s national junior and senior teams for training events and special functions, as well as turning the club into a “strong and respectable” association that has the ability to develop future world-class players.
Sunday’s stormy weather certainly underscored the club’s pitch for improved facilities. Organizers cancelled a scheduled game between the Women Masters B Peninsula Heat and the PFC Sula Sisters because of standing water on one of the field. The game between Island United Blue and the Peninsula Masters went ahead of the park’s second field.
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