The Vanier Turf field does not have washrooms or change rooms. File photo

Comox Valley United appeals to district to support field house proposal

The Comox Valley United Soccer Club is looking for an approximate $150,000 contribution from the Comox Valley Regional District to help construct a field house next to the Vanier turf field.

The CVUSC previously contributed $400,000 to the Vanier Turf project. The site lacks adequate storage, and washrooms/change rooms — which are required for women’s league play, senior youth teams and the local men’s team.

“The field house has been a long planned venture,” club president Stefan Szkwarek said in a May 12 presentation to the CVRD Sports Centre Commission. “We have a bit of a work-around right now where visiting teams go to the Valley View clubhouse to change but we need to eventually get full compliance with this (Vancouver Island Soccer League rules), and get change rooms at our turf.”

The proposed building would include two change rooms, two storage rooms and public washrooms.

The project is estimated to cost $445,000. The club has $145,000 in reserve for building materials. Club members would provide about $150,000 worth of in-kind volunteer labour — as they did in 2003 to construct the Valley View clubhouse.

The CVUSC has at least 1,200 registered players, 1,000 of whom are youth. It has an agreement with Comox Valley Schools for the land, along with maintenance support.

Comox director Ken Grant noted that all communities are looking for efficiencies and ways to cut back as they try to work through the coronavirus pandemic.

“Although it may be a noble venture, I think we need to get staff to look at how we could pull this off in light of the fact that we’re going in a different direction right now as a valley,” Grant said. “I don’t want to throw a bucket of water on this, but I think we have to have a good look at how we would do something like that.”

“I fully acknowledge the economic challenges,” Szkwarek said. “What we’re looking for is sort of a promise to conduct this when we can.”

Courtenay director Doug Hillian, who is a member of CVUSC, encouraged Szkwarek to contact local Rotary clubs for support. He suggested Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells, who is well known in Rotary circles, might be able to provide some connections.

The commission requested a staff report on the viability of the project and options for support, including grant funding opportunities. The CVRD board should receive the report in July.

“It is good to see sports organizations like the soccer club be pro-active in planning for the world after COVID, and we look forward to look at long-term partnership possibilities for the benefit of Comox Valley residents,” commission chair Daniel Arbour said.

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