The Cowichan Valley Regional District is considering a grant of $75,000 towards the construction of a new approximately $1.5 million field house at the Cowichan Sportsplex.
The CVRD’s community services committee is recommending the board approve the grant, noting that the Sportsplex is recognized as one of the nine significant recreation facilities in the region.
The construction of a field house at the Cowichan Sportsplex was part of the original plans for the sports centre when it was first built about 15 years ago, but the plan is just now coming to fruition.
Senior levels of government announced in September they were kicking in more than $1 million for the field house from the Canadian Recreation Infrastructure program.
A CVRD staff report has indicated that the Chesterfield Sports Society, which operates the Sportsplex, has used some of its own reserve funds and now has a total of $1,356,000 in place for the new facility.
The society is now looking for $195,000 in contributions from local governments.
The Municipality of North Cowichan has already committed $95,000, and the City of Duncan is being asked to contribute $25,000 towards the field house project.
The Cowichan Sportsplex, a regional asset since the 1990s, is an outdoor sports, fitness and recreation park covering more than 26 acres in the Cowichan Valley, and currently sees more than 200,000 visits each year.
The recreation facility includes a field hockey artificial surface, lacrosse box, three baseball diamonds, an eight-lane running track with grass infield, and many other recreation opportunities.
The new field house will replace aging office space, which is currently being provided by a temporary and cramped portable building, and washrooms, as well as providing new change rooms/showers and a multi-purpose meeting room for the first time.
It’s anticipated that the field house will lead to the expansion of existing programs at the Sportsplex, and inaugurate new ones.
It’s been estimated that construction of the field house could begin as early as the spring of 2020, and it could take from about eight months to a year to complete once building begins.
John Elzinga, the CVRD’s general manager of community services, said in the staff report that the Sportsplex has a large sport tourism impact in the Cowichan Valley, with the facility hosting numerous championships, including both sports and ceremonies for the 2005 BC Seniors Games, the 2008 North American Indigenous Games, and the 2018 BC Summer Games.