Fieldhouse advocates look to regroup with CalgaryNext in doubt
Calgary Multisport Fieldhouse Society calls on city to reconfirm Foothills site for new facility
The Calgary Multisport Fieldhouse Society says it can't continue to rely on the city to come up with the money to build a fieldhouse if it wants to see a multi-sport indoor facility built anytime soon.
At the organization's annual general meeting on Tuesday night, chairman Jason Zaran said it's time members started looking for funds to help get the ball rolling after a report from city hall pegged the cost of the CalgaryNext plan at an out-of-reach $1.8 billion.
The proposal from the Calgary Flames ownership group would have seen new professional hockey arena and football stadium built in the West Village, with the stadium component doubling as a public-access fieldhouse.
Zaran said CalgaryNext helped raise awareness and support for a fieldhouse in Calgary but, given the hurdles the project faces, his organization is advocating a return to its earlier vision of building a fieldhouse at Foothills Athletic Park.
"Is it finding federal funding — potentially infrastructure funding — where you get a receptive ear?" Zaran said.
"Is it someone like Own The Podium that wants a regional centre of excellence? Is it one or two local philanthropists that are excited about being part of a facility that is a legacy for Calgary?"
Sport Calgary CEO Murray Sigler urged the group not to give up.
"Without that perseverance, Calgary won't get a fieldhouse, maybe, and without a fieldhouse Calgary can't be a great city for sport," he said.
"If Calgary's not a great city for sport, it's not a great community to live in. We can't be a world leader. And we have a great opportunity right now to capture the moment and get on and develop not just a fieldhouse, but have a long-term plan that has three or four fieldhouses."
The proposal included a 400-metre running track, full-sized soccer pitch and space for other sports such as basketball and tennis, plus seating for 10,000 spectators, but no source of funding has yet been identified.