The construction of new $1.5-million field house at the Cowichan Sportsplex would be a “real game changer” for the facility, according to Drew Cooper.
Cooper is the general manager of the non-profit PacificSport Vancouver Island group that recently formed a partnership with the Chesterfield Sports Society, which handles the administration of the Sportsplex, to run the day-to-day operations at the facility.
He said if the new field house is constructed, it would replace aging office space, which is currently being provided by a temporary portable building, and washrooms, as well as providing new change rooms/showers and a multi-purpose meeting room for the first time.
The Cowichan Sportsplex is a regional outdoor sports, fitness and recreation park covering more than 26 acres in the Valley that typically sees more than 200,000 visits each year.
“If we can make it happen, the field house would fit in with the vision of the Cowichan Sportsplex that was formed when the facility was first planned,” Cooper said.
“With change rooms, showers and the other amenities, we would be able to attract big ball tournaments and other competitions that would bring in lots of teams from out of town. Considering the hotels they will stay at, the restaurants where they will eat and the other shopping they will do while here, the Sportsplex with its new field house would be a significant economic driver for the Valley.”
Cooper said the new field house is also needed to expand existing programs at the Sportsplex, and inaugurate new ones.
At the Municipality of North Cowichan council meeting on Dec. 5, council asked staff to prepare a report, expected to be tabled on Dec. 19, on the request by the Chesterfield Sports Society for North Cowichan to apply on behalf of the society for a grant from the province’s Community, Cultural and Recreation Program to assist in funding the new field house.
Local governments can qualify for up to 73 per cent of the funding for a project that meets eligibility guidelines.
Cooper said the hope is that, if a grant is received through the program, North Cowichan, the Cowichan Valley Regional District and the City of Duncan will agree to cover a total of $195,000 of the cost of the field house, and the Sportsplex partners would cover another $195,000 through local fundraising.
“The Cowichan Sportsplex is used by people all across the Cowichan Valley and beyond,” Cooper said.
“The field house is really needed and I hope we can make it happen.”