St. Thomas soccer program in jeopardy

The construction of the support building at Cowan Park has started. St. Thomas Soccer Club, the main tenant, who pays user fees, now called rentals, was not part of the planning although the construction will have an impact of one of the fields!
In comparison, the club is still waiting for the construction of the shelters for the player benches at the Athletic Park. The club paid $ 20,000 in June 2007 and $ 10,000 in April 2008 for various renovations and improvements at both parks. The installation of the shelters was planned for 2007, now it is the end of 2008 and they are still not installed!
A short history will give you an idea that the club was misinformed by the City of St. Thomas in regards to the plans for both Parks.
In 1992, the Director of Parks and Recreation, Jim Moore, informed the club that Athletic Park and Cowan Park would be Soccer Parks. Based on this information the club invested in excess of $100,000 for the construction of the support building, which originally was supposed to be $ 25,000. The total cost of the building amounted to more than $ 300,000 because the surveyors did not realize that the building site was an old garbage dump. Therefore the construction company had to excavate a lot more material than originally estimated.
After the departure of Mr. Moore, the plans of the City changed and both locations were declared public parks, which anybody could rent. In comparison to baseball fields, soccer fields became non specific. The overusage of Athletic Park and the installation of different playgrounds at Cowan Park had a major effect on the soccer activities and the fields. Cowan Park has a major parking problem during tournaments and the fields at Athletic Park are deteriorating because top dressing has not been done on three fields for a long time.
The City could not provide playing fields for the house league program of the club and therefore the Municipality of Central Elgin provided a facility at the Regional Health Centre behind the OPP station. The house league teams have played since 2002 at that facility and the club has asked the city officials various times to come up with a permananent solution because the current lease expires at the end of 2009.
The City’s master recreation plan only mentions 4 large and 9 small fields at Central Elgin Soccer Complex. In fact there are also 13 microfields without goal posts which accomadate 600 players from Tuesdays to Thursdays.
If the club loses this faciility and the city cannot provide another one, then 1,300 players will cease to play in the summer!
Bob Luft

One thought on “St. Thomas soccer program in jeopardy

  1. What I tried to point out that Parks and Recreation has certain priorities and that does not include the projects, which the club has paid for. I would like Mr. McVittie to address all my points.

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