Just imagine - an artificial soccer pitch with lights, benches, adequate parking, concession stands and - as an added bonus - a baseball diamond and a walking/jogging trail around the whole facility. That's the conceptual plan the Sunshine Coast Youth Soccer Association (SCYSA) has in mind for Chatelech Secondary School in Sechelt. All this plan needs now to take shape is support from politicians and from the community.
But the support from the politicians is taking a bit longer than we had hoped. School District No. 46 is currently reviewing the plan, and last week, the association made a pitch to Sunshine Coast Regional District directors. Some directors raised concerns with field maintenance costs and all directors could do was support the plan in principle because they needed to see a detailed plan for the project before doing anything more. A concept plan is the next step in the process, but in the meantime we're wondering why our politicians are not welcoming this initiative with open arms.
It took years - check that - decades for this community to finally pass a referendum paving the way for the new community centre in Gibsons and pool in Sechelt. Here we have a group - SCYSA - that hopes to raise most of the money needed to pay for this facility. They have a clear vision and will not go to government asking for millions. There's no need for referendums, just political foresight to achieve the dream of a community-based group committed to improving athletic facilities for all of us to enjoy.
These fields are badly needed. On any given weekend during the soccer season, there are hundreds of youth and adults fighting for space on the pitch. When the winter weather turns nasty, fields are closed, but with artificial all-weather turf, the games can go on. Right now, a new field is being built in Pender Harbour, a new track was recently completed behind Elphinstone Secondary School, and now this plan has been proposed. Let's all get behind this initiative and make it happen. We can worry about the maintenance costs and who's going to cut the grass later.
Our community is blessed to have a multitude of talented athletes both young and old achieving greatness at the local, provincial and national levels. Just imagine how much greater those achievements could be with better facilities right in their own back yard - a field of dreams indeed!