If you build it (again), will they come?
Sure, it may have been a little political posturing by Mayor Kirkham, but declaring his desire to expand the turf field project in front of so many soccer fans at the “grand opening” of the new turf field on Saturday (March 9) was a pretty bold move.
He certainly didn’t have to say something like that. Even Squamish Youth Soccer Association president Katrina Doherty was a little surprised when I asked her about Kirkham’s comments.
“I’m looking forward to expanding the project,” Kirkham told the crowd while pointing at the all-weather field. “And with the drive and initiative of the Squamish Soccer Association, I think it will happen.”
It’s been no secret that the ultimate goal for the SSA is to twin the existing turf field and potentially add a running track. Who knows if or when this will ever happen, but Kirkham’s nod to the group’s desires was interesting.
Let’s face it — nobody likes playing on the gravel all-weather fields. The ball bounces strangely, lakes develop on the field in the ever-present Squamish rain and if they fall, players receive more skid marks than a NASCAR track.
Having another field would help soccer but it’s also a pretty nice bonus for football players. It was the first time I’d seen the football goalposts up and having two fields would be a benefit for both the Sounders and the GSL football programs.
But I think the real gem could be the addition of a track. The Don Ross track leaves a lot to be desired and if Squamish wants to attract events like the B.C. Games or the Senior Games, an upgraded running facility is necessary. A track is the type of asset that could be used by everyone in the community and would help promote the healthy lifestyle so many Squamoleans preach.
Of course, there’s the whole issue of how Squamish would be able to pay for these shiny new toys. Oh, and did I mention we also need serious upgrades to the hockey rink, a community gym and people are also still clamouring for that mountain bike skills park.
The SSA raised $100,000 to help pay for the soccer fields. They attended public meetings and really fought for that field. Are all of these other groups willing to do the same?
The bottom line is it’s up to our mayor and council to juggle all of these desires and make the tough decisions.
I just hope that one day I’ll be able to run a lap on the new track, work out in the community gym, skate on the new rink and hit a few jumps in the skills park. And preferably it’s well before I’m old and grey.