Coun. Bryan Anderson suggests that if the city needs to find more places for indoor soccer to happen, why not use old hockey rinks once they’re decommissioned? He believes shutting down the ice plant would still leave a building that can be used for other purposes.
The comment came when a council committee was dealing with a Coun. Michael Walters inquiry into future indoor soccer use. However members of the newly named Community and Public Services Committee were told they might be getting ahead of themselves, thinking of new purposes for old ice rinks.
“The ice users will really worry about not enough ice,” warned city manager Linda Cochrane that talk of making something new of old rinks is premature since new rinks haven’t been built to replace them. “The arena strategy does contemplate alternative uses, and a process for that.”
The current arena strategy is due to be revisited. The current one is taking planners through 2019.
“When we know one will be closed or decommissioned, that will be the trigger to start look at alternative uses for it, while a new facility is being constructed,” Roger Jevne, the Director of Recreation Facility Development told the committee. “So there would be a two or three year window in there where we’d have the opportunity to work with all users.”
Anderson was reminding councillors and the administration that there is large demand for several sports, that currently book indoor soccer in the summer, which is their off season. “The second fastest growing sport is in our area is ball hockey and I think lacrosse is an up and comer,” Anderson said. “And we are not really having a conversation about facilities for those two sports.”
The committee has recommended that the soccer association, the city and the other users work together to come up with a plan. “The other users are the concrete surface sports,” Anderson said, “so as long as they’re at the table I think their needs are going to be looked after.”
Coun. Michael Walters, who got the conversation going by asking for a planning report on future indoor soccer use said the idea of thinking of the other sports is worth while. “We heard today they’ve always thought about that,” Walters told reporters. “That there will be some kind of process for when inevitably those six sites are decommissioned, way down the road. So yeah, I think it’s valid, that’s something that according to the administration has always been on their mind.”
Anderson said when future new indoor facilities are built by Edmonton Minor Soccer with four arenas for their sport, the city should look at adding two more concrete style pads for other sports to enhance soccer’s revenue.