Sports Dome collapse leaves 4 Thunder Bay soccer clubs, new gym hunting for space
One soccer official suggests city examine building permanent indoor playing field
The collapse of the Sports Dome in Thunder Bay, Ont., during a winter storm on Nov. 18 has athletic clubs scrambling to find alternative training and playing space, and is again raising the question of whether the city should support the construction of a permanent indoor field.
The inflatable structure is home to four different soccer organizations, says Amy Rubino-Start, the president of the Lakehead Express Soccer Club, which operates nine competitive teams and a recreational house league for children and adults.
"We're just kind of taking it one day at a time and right now we're trying to do business as usual," by running the programs at school gyms and at the indoor soccer field at the Hanger at Lakehead University, said Rubino-Start.
'Everything I've always dreamed of'
Those spaces are now in high demand for use not only by the soccer clubs, but also the Leading Edge Gym.
The brand-new fitness facility, which offers training in boxing and martial arts, opened in early October in the Sports Dome, said owner Matt Richer.
"It was everything I've always dreamed of as far as the layout, the setup, the students, just the atmosphere in the place and it's taken a long time to get to where we had it," said Richer.
Richer said he was told the closure could last a month or more, but he admits he's worried the damage may be too serious to fix.
But he's choosing to remain optimistic.
"Just keep trucking forward, that's the plan," Richer said.
Date for reopening unknown
Rubino-Start said she has been told by the owners that she'll be notified by Nov. 25 about the timeline for repairs and reopening of the dome.
She's hopeful the process will go quickly and smoothly, and things will return to normal soon.
But even with that best case scenario, "it would be nice if the city of Thunder Bay could look at a permanent structure that could house soccer. It's quite an active sport in this city, all year round," said Rubino-Start.
CBC News could not reach the owners of the Sports Dome for comment.