October 21, 2014 - 10:28 AM
KELOWNA – One year after the Kelowna United soccer dome at Mission Recreation Park was inflated for the first time, club president Mark Kehel says there has been more than twice the interest they were expecting.
And he’s recommending a second indoor soccer field be built as soon as possible.
“When we were starting we went with an ultra-conservative budget for revenue,” Krehel says. “We were hoping for $60,000 and ten user groups. By the end of the year in April we had over 22 user groups and about $140,000 in revenue.”
The dome, which covers two, sometimes three, soccer fields during the winter months, was reinflated for the second season earlier this month.
Krehel says they are already fully booked for the winter and the surprising profitability has not gone unnoticed in the international soccer community.
“We’ve had calls from all over B.C. and Alberta and a while ago we got calls from some clubs in New York,” he says, adding some of the American clubs have even travelled to Kelowna for a firsthand look.
“(It’s) not only the facility,” he says, “but also the operational model that we had with the city.”
Coun. Gerry Zimmerman asked what he considered an obvious question: “When will the city be ready for another one like this or perhaps even bigger?”
“We feel current demand would support a new facility right now,” Krehel replied.
The majority of users of the dome are not members of Kelowna United and include women’s rugby, Special Olympics, lacrosse and fitness boot camps.
“We’ve got a good cross section of community activities in there all the time,” he says. “That’s what we wanted.”
Although the city donates the land, the dome and artificial turf pitch were paid for and built by the Kelowna United Football Club in November last year for $1 million. Mayor Walter Gray said Monday it is exactly the kind of arrangement he likes to see.
“We love partners who pay all the money and all we have to do is lend you the land,” he said.
The dome is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014