British Columbia

Kelowna man says giant soccer dome blocking backyard view deserves a red card

"It looks alien. It looks like a spaceship landed in the field."

Dome owner says it followed necessary due process, structure is within parameters of zoning and bylaws

A before and after picture of Rod Charlesworth's backyard in Kelowna. (Submitted by Rod Charlesworth)

A Kelowna, B.C., man whose house backs onto the soccer fields of Rutland Senior Secondary School says a temporary soccer dome is a giant eyesore blocking his view of the Okanagan hills.

Rod Charlesworth has lived in his house for 28 years and says part of the reason he likes the property is the fact there are no houses and only a sports field on the other side of his backyard fence.

But a few months ago, a giant white bubble — a dome 13.5 meters tall in which soccer is played — was installed right next door.

"This thing is an eyesore too look at. It's very bright. It glares. I just don't feel like it belongs here along this strip of houses," Charlesworth said.

"It looks alien. It looks like a spaceship landed in the field."

Facility used by students

School District 23 owns the property on which the dome sits. It leased the land to Kelowna United Football Club, which owns and operates the dome.

Kevin Kaardal, the superintendent of School District 23, says the dome is meant to be a temporary structure which will be installed in the fall and taken down in the spring.

"There'll be just open fields with astroturf and some fencing in terms of the rest of the year," Kaardal said.

He said the dome is a much better use of the space than the previous fields, and although the school district is making little money from the arrangement, he said students in the district have been able to use the structure during the day.

"We very much appreciate that," he said. "It's a real boon to recreation."

Followed due process

Kaardal noted the dome had been up since January but only heard of Charlesworth's concerns this week. He also said the installation of the dome had been reported in the press and "had not been a secret."

In an email response to CBC, Scott Jacobsen, the president of the Kelowna United Football Club, said his club followed necessary due process to install the dome and that the structure meets the parameters of current zoning and bylaws for the property.

Jacobsen emphasized he would be happy to discuss any concerns with area residents to "try to resolve concerns that have come up."

He also said the structure will come down for the spring as soon as some construction processes are complete.

With files from Daybreak South

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