Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay pitches indoor soccer facility at Chapples Park to the public

A pitch to bring an indoor soccer facility to Chapples Park in Thunder Bay, Ont., was well received by the 30 people at an open house on Wednesday night.

No timeline on when soccer pitch would get built

Michael Veneziale, with Soccer Northwest and Thunder Bay Men's Soccer League, is pleased with the plans outlined by the city to build an indoor soccer facility at Chapples Park. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

A pitch to bring an indoor soccer facility to Chapples Park in Thunder Bay, Ont., was well received by the roughly 30 people who attended an open house on Wednesday night.

The city proposes building the structure, piggybacking on plans by Soccer Northwest, which were first proposed in 2014.

"All the studies that have come back that were commissioned by the city and we partook with Soccer Northwest and Stantec, shows the facility does make money," said Michael Veneziale, who is a member of the Thunder Bay Men's Soccer League and Soccer Northwest.

"And when it comes to city facilities, you don't often see that."

The total cost of the facility would be approximately $27 million, including the cost of designing the building. It could be expanded in the future, the city said, to also include indoor tennis courts.

The soccer facility is slated to be built beside the Thunder Bay Community Tennis Centre.
About 30 people wanted to hear about a proposal from the City of Thunder Bay to build an indoor soccer facility at Chapples Park at an open house on Wednesday. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

Veneziale said soccer is growing, but that growth has recently stalled due to a lack of places to play.

He said even in outdoor situations, there are more teams than fields.

"Soccer is growing in Canada. It's only going to continue to grow. Look at our population base, we have a lot of immigrants and refugees coming to Thunder Bay, and soccer is a very cheap sport to play."

Location, location, location

"One thing we're doing is validating proposed locations," said Kelly Robertson, the city's manager of community services.

Roberston said she has heard from other groups that would also be interested in using the turfed facility.

"Broadening it out a little, talking to some other organizations."

The facility, according to projections, would turn a profit of at least $20,000 by its third year in operation. It would likely run a deficit in the first two years.

At this point, there is no funding in place from the federal or provincial governments, which the city said is crucial to ensuring the project can go forward.

City council is scheduled to receive a report from administration on the proposal in June.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Walters

Reporter/Editor

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff is proud to work in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario. Away from work, you can find him skiing (on water or snow), curling, out at the lake or flying.

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