June 10, 2013 - 5:04 PM
Soccer players of all ages in Kelowna will have a brand new facility for training, competing and recreation. The Kelowna United Football Club will be opening a brand new all-season stadium in the Mission Recreation Park just north of the H2O centre and it should be up and running by the fall or winter this year.
During the six-month indoor season the stadium will be sheltered by an air-inflated dome resembling a large bubble, permitting year-round use. The dome will come down mid-April for the outdoor season.
More than 5,000 players in the Central Okanagan Youth Soccer Association who currently practice in school facilities will now have a 50 by 80 yard turf field to play on.
The stadium will accomodate high-performance training and councillors agreed it will help bring more visitors and tourist dollars to the city.
With a 24 hour, seven day a week operation, other recreational users will be able to benefit from the facility, including programs for alternate frisbe and adult soccer leagues.
While the non-profit Kelowna United club is putting up more than $800,000 to build the stadium, club spokesperson Surinder Gosal says he hopes city councillors will forgo some of the development cost charges down the road. Part of the project's second phase involves building a clubhouse and Gosal says it's, "a little bit more cost" than they expected.
A portion of the cost is covered by the club's sponsor, who will also decide the official name of the facility.
Counc. Andre Blanleil commended the planned location for the facility.
"It is a big bubble so sitting next to H2O is a good spot for it," he said.
Before building gets underway the developer will need approval to fill in a Wetland area that hosts a number of large willow trees.
Counc. Robert Hobson suggested rather than ripping them out, the trees might be worth keeping to provide some shade for soccer players. Hobson also noted the site of the Mission Recreation Park sits on land purchased by the city in the late 1980's. The land used to be owned and operated by the family of Liberal MLA Steve Thomson.
"You can never go wrong buying parkland," Hobson said.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250)718-0428.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013