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By Joel Barde
The Village of Pemberton (VOP) is seeking funding to build a FIFA regulation-sized soccer field on its recreation lands on Pemberton Farm Road East.
The project would see the construction of a 64-by-100-metre grass field, and an amenity building that includes washroom and changeroom facilities, lights, a concession area, and bleachers.
A soccer field was built on the land last year, and will be open for play this spring.
In her presentation to council, Jill Brooksbank—senior communications grants coordinator for the VOP—said the project has the enthusiastic support of the Pemberton Off Road Cycling Association and the Pemberton Youth Soccer Association.
The funding is being sought through the Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure Program, a financial-support stream supported with both provincial and federal tax money.
The total cost of the project would be $4,224,405. Under the application guidelines, the VOP must contribute 26.67 per cent of the project cost of its application if successful.
That means it would have to contribute $1,126,649, though it can look to other partners for help.
The VOP is therefore hoping for a significant contribution from the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD).
“We will be sending a letter to (SLRD) Director (Russell) Mack, saying that this is what it will cost if we share it 50-50,” said Mayor Mike Richman. “The whole recreation site is something that will be used by Village of Pemberton residents as well as Area C residents.
“When we enter into these conversations, we enter into them hopeful to be partners on them.”
If successful, the VOP is seeking to pay the balance without additional costs to taxpayers, using development-related fees and funds, and a $40,000 donation from the Rotary Club.
Following the meeting, Richman said the soccer field would be great for the community on a number of fronts.
Soccer is an accessible sport for families and is popular, he added.
Focusing on the soccer fields, and building up the recreation lands, is a smart long-term move as the fate of the pitch at the old high school on Pemberton Meadows Road is uncertain, explained Richman.
It’s owned by the school district, not the VOP, making it hard to justify major expenditures on it.
“Recognizing that it can’t be the future home for soccer and that we could lose it in the near future, we wanted to plan ahead,” said Richman, adding that the goal has always been to have two fields on the site. “One soccer field is great, but it’s not enough to run a full soccer program on.”
You need two adjacent fields, especially if you’re running tournaments and that sort of thing.”
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