$1M rugby clubhouse for Spryfield 'a game changer'
Feds, province, municipality announce funding for new facility at Graves-Oakley field
The Halifax community of Spryfield is getting $1 million to build a rugby clubhouse at the Graves-Oakley Memorial Park field.
The announcement was made on Wednesday by officials from the federal government, Nova Scotia and the Halifax Regional Municipality.
"This is a game changer for being able to bring events, to be able to train, to be able to bring in more athletes to our sports, to have high level games," said John Gillis, chairman of the Tars Rugby Club.
While there's no set timeline for construction, the hope is to begin work this fall and finish this time next year.
According to Infrastructure Canada, the two-level building will be fully accessible and have four change rooms on its ground floor and a meeting and banquet facility on the top floor. There will also be a deck so people can watch the games.
"The project will provide more opportunities for residents to make the most of the park facilities," Infrastructure Canada said in a news release.
'It's been a long time coming'
Gillis said the clubhouse will also benefit other athletes who use the Graves-Oakley Memorial Park field, for example those who play soccer, softball and baseball.
Currently, he said, there's no place on the grounds for athletes to shower or change or a place for spectators to watch and have a drink.
Gillis said the rugby community has been trying to get a clubhouse for the last four years.
"It's been a long time coming," he said.
Jack Hanratty, the provincial coach with Rugby Nova Scotia and an academy coach with Rugby Canada, said the clubhouse announcement is a "huge move for rugby in the province."
"It's something that has always been dreamt about over the last number of years but now the dream has turned into a reality," Hanratty said.
Hanratty said it will be good to have Graves-Oakley be a rugby-specific facility.
"So it means that the players, parents, children get to be in a nice safe environment and then get to play the sport that we all love," he said.