Soccer club makes a pitch for more land

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

The Flamborough Soccer Club is looking for some land to call home.

The community's largest minor sporting association has run out of room, and are in search of space to build a new soccer complex.

"It's getting to a critical level," said past-president Vic Jonz.

Over the past 10 years, the club's membership has quadrupled, as kids have flocked in droves to the popular sport. The club, now hovering just below the 2,000-member mark, is at 100 per cent capacity, noted Jonz. Fields are in full use every evening, Monday through Thursday. And that doesn't take into account practice time.

"Most teams like to practice one day a week, in addition to their game night. But we can't always accommodate it," he said. "That's why you see kids out practicing on whatever piece of grass they can find."

That's because while membership has skyrocketed, field growth has sputtered. Only 30 per cent more space has been created over the past decade, and fields have been retiring regularly, according to Wayne Green, president of the Flamborough Soccer Club.

Fields at North Wentworth, despite costly upgrades and lighting, are now used as practice fields due to deteriorating field quality; the site was once used as a slag dumping ground by local steel mills, Green noted.

The situation is further complicated by a projected surge in the area's population, with thousands of new homes on the drawing board. With new residents come new kids - many of whom will want to play soccer.

"We just don't have the facilities to accommodate any more members," said Jonz.

The club already oversees 138 recreational teams, from toddlers to adults, along with seven competitive rep teams, and five all-star teams, which are comprised of five teams each.

Because the creation of a soccer pitch takes time - as long as two years, once land is acquired - the club is starting now to head off the impending boom. The club has a long history of working with the municipality to have their needs met. They were instrumental in the development of Jo Sam's Leisure Park, noted Green. And this urgent new need will be no different. They've already approached the City and Ward 15 councillor Margaret McCarthy for assistance, with the full understanding that the club will be expected to foot part of the bill; they paid roughly 10 per cent of the cost to upgrade Joe Sams, he noted.

They're hoping the City can help them find a suitable parcel of land, and help change the zoning once they find one both sides are happy with. The club needs roughly 25 to 30 acres of field; parcels that large are typically zoned agricultural, said Jonz.

They're also hopeful that a local landowner will step forward to offer a piece of land for a reasonable price. Although free use would be ideal, the club isn't leaving any stone unturned.

"If it's out there and available, we'll have a look at it," said Green.

That much land could allow for two to five full-sized fields, and more than half a dozen mini-fields. These smaller fields are used by players under 10 whose teams only allow seven players per side in play, enabling them to play on a smaller field. The club is also hoping for lighting on at least one full-sized field, to allow night games in adult leagues.

The club can't put a dollar figure on the project, because the cost depends on the price of the land, and how much work is required to create the pitches, but it could be upwards of a million dollars, split between the city and the club, said Jonz. And even if land is found now, it could be two seasons before the fields are fit for use; the land must be graded and either re-seeded or sodded before the games can begin.

In the meantime, the club is working with the city to expand existing facilities, to ease the burden. Existing parkland at both Courtcliffe Park in Carlisle and Rockcliffe in Rockton can be graded to create new fields in the short term, said Jonz. But it still can't address the surging need just around the corner.

The pair is confident the additional space will be more than needed; soccer is Canada's fastest growing sport. "It doesn't show any signs of slowing down," said Jonz.

And even if soccer falls out of fashion in the decades to come, a pitch is easily converted to alternate uses.

"It's not like hockey, where if people stop playing, you're stuck with an arena. With soccer, you just pull out the field goals, and you have a great park," said Jonz.

In the meantime, the club's popularity has forced them to move into an office to keep records centralized. Until now, committee chairs have kept records in their basements, said Jonz.

"In organizations like this, there's turnover," he said. "And when that turnover happens, and the new person gets handed 12 boxes of files, it's hard for them to step into the role right away."

That's why the association has hired a part-time staff member, to keep the records updated and centralized.

"It had really gotten to that point," said Green, who added that the new office allows the association to operate as a business. "Because it is a business," he said.

The association prides itself on keeping costs low and services high by keeping expenses down - the fees are among the lowest in the region, he said. Yet they still manage to set aside money for future expansions, which will help fund this complex.

Anyone with information on farmland for sale or lease in the area, or who is willing to donate a piece of their farm to the soccer club, is asked to call the office at 905-690-8484, or e-mail info@flamboroughsoccer.com.

Soccer club makes a pitch for more land

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

The Flamborough Soccer Club is looking for some land to call home.

The community's largest minor sporting association has run out of room, and are in search of space to build a new soccer complex.

"It's getting to a critical level," said past-president Vic Jonz.

Over the past 10 years, the club's membership has quadrupled, as kids have flocked in droves to the popular sport. The club, now hovering just below the 2,000-member mark, is at 100 per cent capacity, noted Jonz. Fields are in full use every evening, Monday through Thursday. And that doesn't take into account practice time.

"Most teams like to practice one day a week, in addition to their game night. But we can't always accommodate it," he said. "That's why you see kids out practicing on whatever piece of grass they can find."

That's because while membership has skyrocketed, field growth has sputtered. Only 30 per cent more space has been created over the past decade, and fields have been retiring regularly, according to Wayne Green, president of the Flamborough Soccer Club.

Fields at North Wentworth, despite costly upgrades and lighting, are now used as practice fields due to deteriorating field quality; the site was once used as a slag dumping ground by local steel mills, Green noted.

The situation is further complicated by a projected surge in the area's population, with thousands of new homes on the drawing board. With new residents come new kids - many of whom will want to play soccer.

"We just don't have the facilities to accommodate any more members," said Jonz.

The club already oversees 138 recreational teams, from toddlers to adults, along with seven competitive rep teams, and five all-star teams, which are comprised of five teams each.

Because the creation of a soccer pitch takes time - as long as two years, once land is acquired - the club is starting now to head off the impending boom. The club has a long history of working with the municipality to have their needs met. They were instrumental in the development of Jo Sam's Leisure Park, noted Green. And this urgent new need will be no different. They've already approached the City and Ward 15 councillor Margaret McCarthy for assistance, with the full understanding that the club will be expected to foot part of the bill; they paid roughly 10 per cent of the cost to upgrade Joe Sams, he noted.

They're hoping the City can help them find a suitable parcel of land, and help change the zoning once they find one both sides are happy with. The club needs roughly 25 to 30 acres of field; parcels that large are typically zoned agricultural, said Jonz.

They're also hopeful that a local landowner will step forward to offer a piece of land for a reasonable price. Although free use would be ideal, the club isn't leaving any stone unturned.

"If it's out there and available, we'll have a look at it," said Green.

That much land could allow for two to five full-sized fields, and more than half a dozen mini-fields. These smaller fields are used by players under 10 whose teams only allow seven players per side in play, enabling them to play on a smaller field. The club is also hoping for lighting on at least one full-sized field, to allow night games in adult leagues.

The club can't put a dollar figure on the project, because the cost depends on the price of the land, and how much work is required to create the pitches, but it could be upwards of a million dollars, split between the city and the club, said Jonz. And even if land is found now, it could be two seasons before the fields are fit for use; the land must be graded and either re-seeded or sodded before the games can begin.

In the meantime, the club is working with the city to expand existing facilities, to ease the burden. Existing parkland at both Courtcliffe Park in Carlisle and Rockcliffe in Rockton can be graded to create new fields in the short term, said Jonz. But it still can't address the surging need just around the corner.

The pair is confident the additional space will be more than needed; soccer is Canada's fastest growing sport. "It doesn't show any signs of slowing down," said Jonz.

And even if soccer falls out of fashion in the decades to come, a pitch is easily converted to alternate uses.

"It's not like hockey, where if people stop playing, you're stuck with an arena. With soccer, you just pull out the field goals, and you have a great park," said Jonz.

In the meantime, the club's popularity has forced them to move into an office to keep records centralized. Until now, committee chairs have kept records in their basements, said Jonz.

"In organizations like this, there's turnover," he said. "And when that turnover happens, and the new person gets handed 12 boxes of files, it's hard for them to step into the role right away."

That's why the association has hired a part-time staff member, to keep the records updated and centralized.

"It had really gotten to that point," said Green, who added that the new office allows the association to operate as a business. "Because it is a business," he said.

The association prides itself on keeping costs low and services high by keeping expenses down - the fees are among the lowest in the region, he said. Yet they still manage to set aside money for future expansions, which will help fund this complex.

Anyone with information on farmland for sale or lease in the area, or who is willing to donate a piece of their farm to the soccer club, is asked to call the office at 905-690-8484, or e-mail info@flamboroughsoccer.com.

Soccer club makes a pitch for more land

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

The Flamborough Soccer Club is looking for some land to call home.

The community's largest minor sporting association has run out of room, and are in search of space to build a new soccer complex.

"It's getting to a critical level," said past-president Vic Jonz.

Over the past 10 years, the club's membership has quadrupled, as kids have flocked in droves to the popular sport. The club, now hovering just below the 2,000-member mark, is at 100 per cent capacity, noted Jonz. Fields are in full use every evening, Monday through Thursday. And that doesn't take into account practice time.

"Most teams like to practice one day a week, in addition to their game night. But we can't always accommodate it," he said. "That's why you see kids out practicing on whatever piece of grass they can find."

That's because while membership has skyrocketed, field growth has sputtered. Only 30 per cent more space has been created over the past decade, and fields have been retiring regularly, according to Wayne Green, president of the Flamborough Soccer Club.

Fields at North Wentworth, despite costly upgrades and lighting, are now used as practice fields due to deteriorating field quality; the site was once used as a slag dumping ground by local steel mills, Green noted.

The situation is further complicated by a projected surge in the area's population, with thousands of new homes on the drawing board. With new residents come new kids - many of whom will want to play soccer.

"We just don't have the facilities to accommodate any more members," said Jonz.

The club already oversees 138 recreational teams, from toddlers to adults, along with seven competitive rep teams, and five all-star teams, which are comprised of five teams each.

Because the creation of a soccer pitch takes time - as long as two years, once land is acquired - the club is starting now to head off the impending boom. The club has a long history of working with the municipality to have their needs met. They were instrumental in the development of Jo Sam's Leisure Park, noted Green. And this urgent new need will be no different. They've already approached the City and Ward 15 councillor Margaret McCarthy for assistance, with the full understanding that the club will be expected to foot part of the bill; they paid roughly 10 per cent of the cost to upgrade Joe Sams, he noted.

They're hoping the City can help them find a suitable parcel of land, and help change the zoning once they find one both sides are happy with. The club needs roughly 25 to 30 acres of field; parcels that large are typically zoned agricultural, said Jonz.

They're also hopeful that a local landowner will step forward to offer a piece of land for a reasonable price. Although free use would be ideal, the club isn't leaving any stone unturned.

"If it's out there and available, we'll have a look at it," said Green.

That much land could allow for two to five full-sized fields, and more than half a dozen mini-fields. These smaller fields are used by players under 10 whose teams only allow seven players per side in play, enabling them to play on a smaller field. The club is also hoping for lighting on at least one full-sized field, to allow night games in adult leagues.

The club can't put a dollar figure on the project, because the cost depends on the price of the land, and how much work is required to create the pitches, but it could be upwards of a million dollars, split between the city and the club, said Jonz. And even if land is found now, it could be two seasons before the fields are fit for use; the land must be graded and either re-seeded or sodded before the games can begin.

In the meantime, the club is working with the city to expand existing facilities, to ease the burden. Existing parkland at both Courtcliffe Park in Carlisle and Rockcliffe in Rockton can be graded to create new fields in the short term, said Jonz. But it still can't address the surging need just around the corner.

The pair is confident the additional space will be more than needed; soccer is Canada's fastest growing sport. "It doesn't show any signs of slowing down," said Jonz.

And even if soccer falls out of fashion in the decades to come, a pitch is easily converted to alternate uses.

"It's not like hockey, where if people stop playing, you're stuck with an arena. With soccer, you just pull out the field goals, and you have a great park," said Jonz.

In the meantime, the club's popularity has forced them to move into an office to keep records centralized. Until now, committee chairs have kept records in their basements, said Jonz.

"In organizations like this, there's turnover," he said. "And when that turnover happens, and the new person gets handed 12 boxes of files, it's hard for them to step into the role right away."

That's why the association has hired a part-time staff member, to keep the records updated and centralized.

"It had really gotten to that point," said Green, who added that the new office allows the association to operate as a business. "Because it is a business," he said.

The association prides itself on keeping costs low and services high by keeping expenses down - the fees are among the lowest in the region, he said. Yet they still manage to set aside money for future expansions, which will help fund this complex.

Anyone with information on farmland for sale or lease in the area, or who is willing to donate a piece of their farm to the soccer club, is asked to call the office at 905-690-8484, or e-mail info@flamboroughsoccer.com.