Fundraising for the KEYSA Indoor Sports Facility was officially kicked off the week of November 13 and the group has already raised $50,000 — ten per cent of their $500,000 goal.
The project is spearheaded by Mike Robinson, Senior Aquatic Ecologist at Lotic Environmental and soccer parent, alongside three other committee members, Pam Berry, Chuck Downie and Trish Sheller the project really got underway in February of this year, but has been in the works since Robinson, 39, was in U-10 soccer himself. Robinson explained that it’s important for Cranbrook to have an indoor arena for not just soccer, but baseball as well in order to allow year-round development for aspiring athletes.
“We’re getting half the playtime that people in the Coast who can play outdoors year round or comparable sized centres — Nelson, Lethbridge — which have indoor facilities, and you just get to see the calibre of players that can come out of those areas when they get that access to year round,” said Robinson.
Robinson said that since soccer and baseball players have taken to practising at Mount Baker’s gym, there has been improvement in their play, but the facility is just not adequately suited for those types of sports.
“You can imagine the gym floors,” he said, “the kids spend more time trying not to slip on the dusty floors than actually working on their development.”
Then of course there is the size factor. He explained that the new facility, an air-supported dome structure, will be three and a half times larger than the Mount Baker gym with a total area of over 2,400 square metres of indoor, heated floor space on artificial turf.
He added that the arena will be used for more than just sports: “there’s also the spinoff users,” he said. “Special events, you can have trade shows in it. I’d like to see a lot of the day time use going to seniors health programs, schools, people get to use it that way as well.”
The goal is to have the new arena under construction in summer of 2018 and Robinson said that the $50,000 already raised feels really good. The new arena has a projected cost of $1.7 million and construction can commence once they have $1.2 million. The remainder of the cost, after the proposed fundraising target is reached, will be covered by grants and in-kind contributions.
After consulting various real estate agents and assessing the market for a building that could be retrofitted for this purpose, they realized that a new structure would need to be constructed. The old Canadian Tire building, for example, was considered, but the structure of it, with numerous load-bearing pillars throughout, would make it unfit for this project.
“The concept quickly went to a new build and it was then the decision between a hard structure and air supported,” said Robinson. “A bit of research showed that the air-supported structures are excellent for this and really they just come in at a completely different cost so it’s something we believe it’s a goal we can meet. Hard structures have some benefits but we were not too sure it’s even really feasible in a community this size.”
Fundraising will continue throughout this year and into 2018 and Robinson said that they are still looking for a title sponsor: a business to make a significant contribution and have the honour of their name being added to the new building’s title. Those interested in donating can contact Mike Robinson directly at 250-421-7802 or email@example.com.
The donors thus far are as follows:
Platinum ($10,000 or greater)
-Rob, Jess, Brooke, Reese and Joseie Niedermayer
-Lotic Environmental Ltd.
-Chong and Shilhan Family
Gold ($5,000 or greater)
-North Star GM
-Re/Max Blue Sky Realty
Silver ($2,500 or greater)
-MacDonald Hydrology Limited