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Whitehorse soccer players rally for new sports complex

A few dozen people gathered in front of Whitehorse city hall on Thursday, to show their support for a proposed new sports complex in Whistle Bend subdivision. Many of them were young soccer players who say the city needs new, safer fields.

Dozens gather in front of city hall to protest council's decision against plan

'We have had people who have broke their ankles playing soccer,' said Georgia Gow, at a demonstration in front of Whitehorse city hall on Thursday. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

A few dozen people — many of them young soccer players — gathered in front of Whitehorse city hall on Thursday to show their support for a proposed new sports complex. The rally was also a protest aimed at Whitehorse city councillors, who voted down a zoning amendment for the facility.

"The fields that we play on right now, they're really uneven and there's lots of rocks and potholes in it," said Samantha Ng. "It's not very safe."

"We don't have good fields," said Georgia Gow, who held a sign that read: 'Gopher holes break ankles.'

"We have had people who have broken their ankles playing soccer, from gopher holes in the middle of our soccer field," Gow said. 

Approximately 30 to 40 people took part in the demonstration, many of them young soccer players. (Philippe Morin/CBC)
​The Yukon government's proposal for the facility includes plans for two regulation-size soccer fields and a rubberized running track. The government planned to build the complex in the city's Whistle Bend subdivision, but to do so would require a city zoning amendment. On Monday, after a heated debate, city councillors balked.

"Council overstepped its bounds," said Kevin Benson, who said city councillors should have passed the zoning amendment, but instead decided to "play politics." 

Kevin Benson says Whitehorse city councillors decided to 'play politics' when they voted down a zoning amendment for the proposed facility. (Philippe Morin/CBC)
"Council basically tried to pass judgement on the Yukon government, and what the Yukon government decided to do with its money," he clarified.

Benson says the city needs as many sports facilities as possible, to keep young people active and out of mischief. But many of the soccer players at Thursday's protest were thinking more about their competitive edge.

"We need fields," Gow said. "If we want to practice for bigger tournaments, we're going to have to have big fields." 

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