Kelowna is about to add a covered soccer field to the recreational offerings at Mission Recreation Park where the H20 Aquatic Centre, outdoor playing fields and Capital News Centre sit.
On Monday, Kelowna city council approved a proposal to have the municipality donate a lease on the land in order for Kelowna United Football Club to erect an $813,000 dome-covered soccer pitch that will be covered for the six months of winter, open for summers, and available to a wide range of sports enthusiasts to use when needing field time.
“Soccer rules. I think it’s great,” said Councillor Robert Hobson as the final plan was presented during Monday afternoon’s council meeting.
The proposal originally came before council in June, after the club was approached by an undisclosed benefactor willing to front enough money to have the pitch built to the club’s specific needs for this winter.
Under the arrangement, Kelowna United will design, build and operate the facility with a 15-year lease and option for the first five-year contract renewal when the lease expires.
The field will be made of the latest in artificial turf and measure 45 metres-by-73 metres, though a full-sized field would be 69 metres-by-99 metres.
Soccer is the most popular kids sport in the area with 5000 children and youth enrolled in the Central Okanagan. Field time, for both youth and adult-level play, is at a premium.
“I’m really pleased how quickly this has come together,” said Coun. Gerry Zimmerman, who was instrumental in helping city staff connect with the club’s executive.
The Kelowna United Football Club, the elite division of the Central Okanagan Youth Soccer Association, will receive priority access to the field in exchange for bringing the new facility to fruition.
The arrangement is being billed as an example of how a public-private partnership can be both effective and efficient at the municipal level.
A decision on whether to wave the development cost charges on the building, a tax-style charge normally added to all development in order to pay into the infrastructure funds needed to support the city’s expansion, has yet to be made.