Thunder Bay soccer officials to pitch for city support for new indoor space
Soccer Northwest will present new commissioned study to city council Jan. 15
One of the directors for Soccer Northwest in Thunder Bay, Ont., says he'll be back in front of city councillors in the northwestern Ontario city to make his group's case for municipal help for a new indoor facility for the sport.
Michael Veneziale, who is the director of senior soccer for Soccer Northwest, told CBC News he'll be making a deputation to council at its next regular business meeting on Jan. 15 over the group's plans for a dedicated indoor facility to house soccer and other turf-based sports.
"It's going to be [an ask for] financial support," Veneziale said. "We haven't nailed down exactly what it's going to be because we're going to be looking at financing from other sources as well."
Veneziale said the proposed facility could cost about $25 million.
Indoor soccer leagues have been struggling to find appropriate space in which to play, especially since the November, 2016 collapse of the Sports Dome in Thunder Bay. Since then, Veneziale said, those who are able to play often use school gymnasiums. Some games can also be played during available time at multi-sport facilities at Lakehead University and Confederation College.
The Thunder Bay women's league started play this week, Veneziale said, adding that youth leagues are playing "at random times and random different places," while its men's league is currently not playing.
Soccer Northwest commissioned a study by the same company that recently installed new artificial fields at two Thunder Bay high schools, Veneziale said, adding that the "information package" that councillors will receive will contain "everything needed to get going forward and getting the financing to start going toward the build."
The group is "cautiously optimistic," he added, saying that "everything we've been hearing seems very positive."
Having a dedicated facility in Thunder Bay will benefit more than just the soccer-playing community, he continued. There's also a video Soccer Northwest is set to release in advance of its deputation to council.
"This is about more than soccer, this is about community," Veneziale said. "It about the potential of giving kids the opportunity to grow as people to become productive members of society."
With many activities nowadays "in front of a screen," having proper access to facilities that encourage sport and physical activity is important, he continued.