The Comox Valley United Soccer Club is appealing to the Comox Valley Regional District for a new year-round playing surface — be it a lit artificial pitch or an indoor facility — to complement the Vanier turf field.
The club has about 1,200 registered players, roughly 1,000 youth and 200 adults. COVID has exacerbated the need for more facilities as the club struggles to squeeze teams onto the turf.
“Basically we’ve run out of space,” club president Stefan Szkwarek said in a recent presentation to the Comox Valley Recreation Commission. “From mid-September to March, we need to use the turf to save the grass. This year’s weather has further demonstrated why we need turf.”
The club has invested about $1 million to local sports infrastructure. A further $250,000 in cash is planned, and upwards of $250,000 of in-kind volunteering to build a field house at the Vanier turf.
Considering population growth in the Valley, the club recommends building two artificial pitches to meet the needs of the community. The preferred option Valley View Park, where the CVUSC clubhouse is located.
Due to the estimated $2.5-4 million cost, a smaller project is likely needed as a stop gap measure. An example would be five-a-side cages with turf and lesser lighting, which would well serve young teams for overall development.
“I think it’s high time that we all put our heads together and make this happen,” Szkwarek said.
In response to a question from Comox director Ken Grant, Szkwarek said the club engages with the Comox Valley School District on a quarterly basis. He said SD71 is open to working with the club on the proposal.
Area C director Edwin Grieve asked if the club has chased grant opportunities from senior government, and appealed to local Rotary clubs for assistance. Szkwarek said the latter has expressed interest.