March 29, 2016 - 7:00 PM
SALMON ARM - The sudden closure of an indoor sports facility in Salmon Arm due to exposed asbestos is bad news for athletic groups and the non-profit society which owns the building.
Closed indefinitely while assessments are completed, and after that remediation work, the Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union Indoor Memorial Sports Complex normally hosts numerous groups including rugby teams, lacrosse players, archery and soccer, not to mention the annual Fall Fair in September and the Salmon Arm Children’s Festival in July.
“It’s a busy place,” executive director for the Shuswap Youth Soccer Association Kevin Harrison says.
The soccer association was notified of the closure the day before spring break, when a soccer camp was scheduled. The association was able to use an outdoor school field for the camp, but has been forced to cancel all indoor soccer practices. The development team, for youths aged 11 and 12, and the select team, ages 13 to 18, are now waiting for outdoor fields to officially open, which is hoped to be happening April 11.
“These teams are without and are unable to practice,” Harrison says.
Fortunately, the soccer association was at the tail end of its indoor training season, but Harrison says they could be impacted if the repairs aren’t finished in time for the fall season.
The Salmon Arm and Shuswap Lake Agricultural Association, which owns and operates the building, is hoping remediation will be complete well before then. President Phil Wright says they are currently awaiting a full report on what repairs are required before they can reopen.
“We have the Children’s Festival in July, it’s important to get it done by then and it will be, I’m sure,” Wright says.
Because the association is a non-profit, Wright says the repairs represent a ‘major blow’ financially.
The arena was built in the early 1960s, and Wright says the asbestos issue was created by the ground shifting, causing the cinder blocks in the walls to crack and expose the asbestos-containing insulation material.
The silver lining of the whole thing, Wright says, is most of the user-groups were moving outdoors for the season anyways.
The soccer association sees another potential silver lining as well; the opportunity to improve the aging facility in conjunction with the needed repairs.
“Maybe this leads to something positive with a better facility,” Harrison says.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016