Sudbury

Fabio Belli Foundation goes forward with plans for smaller soccer bubble in Sudbury

Plans for a sports dome in Sudbury are going ahead, despite the loss of $4 million in provincial funding.

Scaled down soccer bubble will be 56,000 square feet and cost $4.1 million

Despite losing $4 million in provincial funding, the Fabio Belli Foundation is moving ahead with plans for a sports bubble on the grounds of Lasalle Secondary School. (CBC)

Plans for a sports dome in Sudbury are going ahead, despite the loss of $4 million dollars in provincial funding.

That money had been promised to the Fabio Belli Foundation for a soccer bubble to be built on the grounds of Lasalle Secondary School, along with a new elementary school.

But that funding was cancelled when the Conservatives came to power last year.

Board member Dennis Reich says instead of putting the plans on hold, the foundation decided to go ahead with a dome that's $2 million cheaper and about half the size.

"That's one of the mistakes that's been made in the past," he says, referring to previous attempts to build a soccer bubble in Sudbury.

"We really didn't want to fall into it this time. The goal of the project is to get a facility in this town."

Reich says the domed field will now be 56,000 square feet, instead of 100,000, and will not feature a running track.

He says it still comes with a $4.1 million pricetag, about a quarter of which will be paid for by the Rainbow District School Board, with the remainder coming from community donations and financing agreements.

In April 2018, the family of the late Fabio Belli, from left, his youngest daughter, Brianna, his wife Susan, and his eldest daughter, Emma, help Sudbury MPP Glenn Thibeault reveal the original plans for a multi-use sports dome to be built with $4 million in provincial funding. The Ford government has now revoked that funding. ( Benjamin Aubé/CBC)

"We basically plowed ahead and said 'Yeah, we're going to do this,'" says Reich. 

"You know, with all the money raised through the Fabio Belli Foundation, if we're able to achieve profits with this, go directly back into the community. So our goal is to continue building these facilities."

Plans now call for the dome to be open by Nov. 19 and Reich says sports organizations in Sudbury are already reserving field time for next winter.

The Sudbury District Sports Club is also planning to build an indoor sports field at Sacre Coeur high school, expected to open some time this year. 

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