Executive director of Swan City FC David Rojas believes Grande Prairie city council’s approval in principal of $10 million for a new recreation facility is a step in the right direction. He says the organization has turned away around 350 players in the past year due to space issues, and 150 of those were between October and January due to the demolition of the Leisure Centre.
Rojas says even with the approval there is still a long way to go before this project is complete.
“We are hoping that by our 2024 – 2025 indoor season, we are hopeful it will be ready, so we still have one more season of indoor that we are going to struggle for space availability,” Rojas says.
During the April 3rd council meeting Grande Prairie Public School Division Board Chair Joan Nellis and Superintendent Sandy McDonald expressed their support for an indoor recreation facility in the Avondale neighbourhood. Nellis says the school board is in favour of the facility, whether it be a soccer dome or a longer-term facility, on the old Grande Prairie Composite High School site.
“We understand there is a lot of things to consider when they pick the spot for this facility, and our voice and the voice of our students is one of the things to consider,” Nellis says.
McDonald adds the school division has plans to use the Composite High School land for physical education purposes, having already worked with the city to design ball diamonds and soccer fields for the area, which will be used by schools during the day and different community groups at night.
“During the winter, however, an indoor facility would be used during the day as well by our students, so it’s a bird in the hand as to one in the bush, you know, a site now versus the potential of something down the road,” McDonald says. “It would be a different question if you said, ‘if you knew a permanent facility was going to come in seven years, would you take something now as opposed to waiting seven years?’ That would be a completely different question.”
Following the April 3rd decision, Mayor Jackie Clayton said she expects the conversation will return to council at the April 17th meeting.