West Kelowna's $4.1 million soccer bubble should be operational by mid-November, but parents shouldn't expect it to offer an opportunity to sit back, have a coffee and watch their little ones play.
The highly anticipated facility that was described by councillors at an Oct. 8 meeting as "spectacular" and "phenomenal" has a few restrictions.
Snacks and beverages are off the table, for one.
"We're allowed water inside and that's really it," parks planner Mark Roberts, said. "We can't have Gatorade and sugary substances and we can't have food."
Water, he said, would run off easily. Anything else would have to be cleaned and it would put too much pressure on West Kelowna city staff to do the cleanup.
Also, there is no actual table, let alone somewhere to sit. The facility is currently lacking both bleachers and benches and lawn chairs aren't welcome.
While some agreed that banning lawnchairs makes sense because of potential damage to turf, there were some concerns raised about the lack of any seating.
Coun. Doug Findlater, who goes to soccer every Saturday with his granddaughters, noted that parents and spectators should be accounted for.
"People want to go and watch their kids... it's spectacular, but people want to go," he said. "It's a social time to go and watch your kids, as well."
Coun. Stephen Johnston suggested benches be brought in for the end of the field at least.
"I've been at events when parents (are) awkwardly standing around, not wanting to get down on the ground," he said, asking that the seating issue be brought to council shortly.
Other than those issues, the facility got a thumbs up.
Roberts said whenever he walks in, he's "blown away by the scale and magnitude" of it.
The facility is two-thirds the size of a normal soccer pitch.
Roberts told council that the project is thus far on budget and on time. It had previously been allotted $3.8 million, but prices rose in January with the addition of washrooms — something that was left out of the preliminary design.
The B.C. Building Code requires eight washrooms for a maximum dome capacity of 150, but developers initially didn't realize washrooms were required.
With that addition, the budget went to $4.1.
Now the design is close to completion, with the substantial build expected to be wrapped up by the end of the week and the "total performance" build done by the end of the month.
A grand opening is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 16 and user groups are looking to rent starting in January. Council noted that the users were from a number of organizations and the use of the building extended beyond just playing soccer.
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