We have recently received news that Winnipeg is to have the benefit of yet another indoor soccer complex.
The news release was sent out May 7, approximately the same time we have been advised our outdoor soccer park is unusable due to yet another flood from the Assiniboine.
Right now, the City of Brandon has zero outdoor and indoor soccer facilities. Some people have said that it was foolhardy to build Optimist Park so close to the river. Those people do not know the history of why it was built in the first place. The project was funded by the Optimist club and government grants, available at that time. The facility was built there as that was what was affordable at the time.
The soccer park was built and it served several generations of players. There was occasional minor flooding, but never to the level and frequency that we have witnessed over the last few years. The soccer park was built with the funding and resources available 30 plus years ago.
I can recall that another location, former Curran Park (now Turtle Crossing) had also been a site where a lot of sport and recreation activity took place with the same level of issue as Optimist Park. Now, for whatever reason, that site is also seeing increased volume and frequency of flooding.
Brandon Youth Soccer and Brandon Youth Football made a joint presentation to the city council in 2010, requesting the opportunity to develop facilities into Veterans Way, which is to the north of Optimist Park.
The flood of 2011 took place, and that was an event beyond anyone’s control. However, the need to expand and move recreation facilities in Brandon has never changed. I asked one of the city councillors about plans for recreation development in Brandon and was told that Veterans Way is still being considered. This struck me as a bit odd since that is four years after the presentation by youth soccer and football, yet it seems that there are no plans on the horizon and our situation has gone past the critical point.
So the situation today is that the city of nearly 50,000 people has no facility, either indoor or outdoor. The premier had promised that Brandon will see an indoor facility, but that was after three more have been built in Winnipeg. The funding formula used to build these indoor facilities cannot be matched by the City of Brandon or Youth Soccer. Oddly enough, the funding formula used in Saskatchewan has allowed every city in that province to build indoor soccer facilities.
We are coming upon a new election in Brandon. Ask the candidates what their plans and support is for youth sport and recreation.
Gerry Rocan, director
Brandon Youth Soccer