Rendering of the proposed multi-sport covered facility at Cloverdale Athletic Park, on the site of the current lacrosse box at the south end of the park. (Image: surreyunitedsoccer.com)

Surrey sport groups make united pitch for covered training facility at Cloverdale Athletic Park

With council approval needed, the project aims to keep players dry and also grow participation

Four sport groups in Surrey are making a united pitch to have a covered training facility built at Cloverdale Athletic Park.

The multi-sport hub would be located on the site of the current lacrosse box at the south end of the park and would feature a surface suitable for lacrosse, soccer, field hockey and ball hockey.

The public-private proposal, which requires approval by Surrey city council, is put forward by Surrey United Soccer Club in collaboration with Surrey Lacrosse Association, India Field Hockey Club and Surrey Minor Ball Hockey.

The covered facility would not be fully enclosed, similar to existing ones in Port Moody and Langley.

CLICK HERE to see pictures and info about Metal Building Group’s covered facility at Westhill Park in Port Moody.

Goals of the project, which includes potential for the inclusion of a covered basketball facility, are to keep players dry and also increase facility availability to some of the user groups involved, primarily lacrosse and ball hockey associations that have limited use of indoor arenas at key times of the year.

A rendering of the proposed arena is included in a press release about the project posted to Surrey United’s website.

Jeff Clarke, the soccer club’s technical director, said the proposal has been in the works for close to five years, but was put on the “back burner” for a time in favour of its new clubhouse project at Cloverdale Athletic.

“Now that the clubhouse is being built, we have revisited the concept of the covered facility, and with a new council in place we have started over again,” Clarke told the Now-Leader.

“We’ve gained massive traction for this at city hall, and it’s unanimous in terms of Surrey’s need for this,” he added. “If you look at all neighbouring municipalities, they either have one or two of these already, or they’re in their one- to three-year plan for one.… This is something Surrey needs.”

• RELATED STORY: Coastal FC soccer club set to unveil new indoor facility in South Surrey, from February 2019.

The project cost could be in the neighbourhood of $2.5 million, “at the top end,” said Clarke, adding that the released drawing of the proposed facility is “kind of a Holy Grail of what this could be.”

The sport groups must now “go through the formal process of creating a delegation and going to council, making a pitch, and then hopefully getting into Surrey’s business case,” he noted, “and once we do that, then we can apply for provincial and federal grants.

“We’re trying to make this as affordable and economical as possible, to make it a very cost-effective way of achieveing major dividends and benefits for multiple sports groups in Surrey,” Clarke added.

The facility would include a multi-sport surface similar to the one at old Empire Stadium in Vancouver, Clarke said.

“It’s like that, where it’s a little firm for competitive soccer but the field hockey ball rolls naturally, the lacrosse ball bounces naturally, and it’s pretty firm, and it’s good for ball hockey too,” he said.

”From our soccer standpoint, we’re looking at this for our younger players, those just starting out – from age four to seven. That surface is perfect for them, and it gets them out of the elements.”

The project press release says Cloverdale has a thriving, growing sports community.

“It is the belief of (Surrey United) and our community partners that an improvement in Cloverdale’s sports facilities will translate into higher participation rates overall and will also contribute to retention of youth athletes into their teenage years,” the release states. “Keeping kids in sports is a key and common objective of all parties involved in this initiative.”

The four groups are known collectively as Cloverdale Community Multi Sports Group. In its report about the proposal, the “member projected utilization targets” for the facility include ball hockey from January to July, lacrosse from January to July, soccer from September to January and field hockey from November to January.

Membership for the sport groups involved are listed as 800 for ball hockey, 400 to 600 for lacrosse, 2,700 for soccer and 900 for field hockey.

Community benefits detailed in the report include a facility “that can be used in inclement weather,” a tool “to help grow participation numbers and grow their individual sport,” and also to “combat teenage drop-out rates in sport participation” and “teenage anti-social issues that affect our city in negative ways.”

The report says the project vision involves a “full enclosure on the south side of the structure to shield the residential area from the lights in the evenings, sound-absorbing wall behind the nets to limit any increase in noise from increased usage and additional viewing section on the east side of the structure to limit the foot traffic on the west side.”

As for funding, the proponent group “is interested in a PPP arrangement and has the support of the MP of Cloverdale/Langley City, John Aldag. The (group) will be applying for provincial and federal grants toward infrastructure upgrades or new builds and is prepared to do all the administrative work required.”

• RELATED STORIES:

Council approves Cloverdale field house design after initial hesitation.

Surrey United to celebrate 50 years of soccer at day-long event, from September 2018.

Surrey United Soccer recognizes leaders on and off the field.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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