Soccer (football), the poor cousin of all other sports in Collingwood.

I’m not sure if many of you realize this but there are 1,100 youths and adults registered with Collingwood United Soccer Club playing soccer (or as we like to say in Europe football) in house leagues and travel teams around the Collingwood area. If you take the generally accepted population number of 20,000, that is over 5% of the population playing this sport in our town.
Fisher Field is a great facility for soccer, but after 10 years of operation there are still no permanent washrooms or changing facilities out there. What that means in practical terms is when we go out to play a game, you either have to arrive in your soccer clothes, or the other option rain or shine, change by the side of the field and many of the leagues are co-ed. Members of the board of directors of CUSC approached the town recently to see if or when this situation might be rectified. The answer was a resounding “Don’t hold your breath”. Apparently the last bit of money on recreation was spent on the skate park close to Mountainview. That $300k would have gone a long way to getting the much needed washrooms at Fisher but apparently the needs of the 50 or so skateboarders (every time I drive by that facility I am lucky if I see two or three kids in there) outweigh the needs of the many soccer players in town. My view is that when you have scant resources for recreation, you use the resources to benefit the most amount of people. I think a skate park is a luxury this town could ill afford, but that is yet another bone headed decision the previous council made.

Now before you all start accusing me of being a member of another whiny user group, I should explain a couple of things to you. CUSC is a net contributor to the towns coffers each year, to the tune of around $40,000 in user fees for rental of local soccer fields. Skate park $0 because it’s free. Also the town invested $4.5M on the swimming tent to basically accommodate the needs of around 100 kids that are part of the Clippers swim club. Hockey has more numbers; 500 involved comes to mind but the hockey tent over at Centennial Park cost a staggering $9M to accommodate half the amount of participants that soccer has playing. I also say that soccer is more of a poor kids sport, you don’t need hundreds of dollars worth of equipment to play, just soccer cleats and shin pads.

Boston Pizza sponsors a few soccer teams and does a great job promoting the sport locally, in fact a friend of mine that is involved with the club, recently told me that the owner had told him that during the first two weekends in June, when the club hosts its boys and girls rep soccer tournaments. Boston Pizza each weekend serves more main courses than the weekend of the Elvis festival. 1,500 youth soccer players come to town each of those weekends, let’s say conservatively each child comes with two family members, that is 4,500 people coming to town booking hotel rooms, eating in restaurants and generally spending money around town. When they arrive at the premier facility for soccer in our town, they see a place with no permanent structures, just a couple of garden sheds and a few “Porta-cans”. The priorities in this town seem completely out of whack with the realities.

One last point, for some reason our town has always punched above its weight in the success of most of its soccer teams. The Premier team is the highest level of soccer in our town, they play Ontario Soccer League Central Region. This team no matter what its results, can never progress to a higher level of soccer now because of the lack of facilities out at Fisher Field.

Please do me a favour, especially the members of town council that read this blog. Compare the net benefits that soccer brings to the table mentioned above, to the benefits a skate park brings. The next dollars that come available for recreation in our town, should be invested in proper facilities out at Fisher Field.


10 thoughts on “Soccer (football), the poor cousin of all other sports in Collingwood.

  1. I have to disagree with you on the skateboard park. If you had attended any of the meetings for the park you would have seen a room full of people ages 5 to 50 all who either skateboard, snowboard or BMX. These youths have raised money to ugrade the park and over the years tried fixing the damaged cement structures themselves. The town has tried to cheap fix everything from the sand to buying a set of preformed steps for them to use. If anything you should be talking about the ball diamonds. They are used from may to august and cost 50G just for the sand.

  2. There’s no sanitary sewer or watermain along that frontage of the Tenth Line or Sixth Street. To install washrooms and/or a canteen, you’d need drill a well and install a septic bed. That might be one of the reasons it was not considered initially.

    Most sports fields don’t have change rooms…

    • Isn’t there irrigation for the field? If so where does that come from? Must be a well?
      And there is water at the Birch Street soccer fields–and sewage treatment is really, really close!

  3. What about the cost of additional policing? Everyone knows soccer fans are hooligans who will riot at the drop of a hat!

  4. Interesting though that PRC under the departed, but unlamented, Director Dunbar, last year found a quarter of a million for a paved path from nowhere to nowhere through Sunset Point Park!
    Misguided priorities or what?

  5. $500,000 Soccer Centre, $300,000 just not enough $$$$

    First, we need a leader within council to cheerlead this project. Anyone please step forward…

    Second, we need a plan.
    You need to make it simple; the town will make it complicated later in the process. The soccer club requires a 4 changes room, 2 washrooms, small canteen and a storage area. Total size of building let’s make it 4000 square feet.

    Third we need to finance it

    1100 soccer player $10 each for 10 years $110,000
    (Curling club model)

    Project sponsor
    Great idea “avid reader Rotary club” $100,000
    4 year $25,000

    Reduction staff raise pay from 2 ½ % to 1 1/2% $300,000
    For the 2015-2016
    1% of town’s labours cost $ 30,000,000

    Total $510,000

    Fourth, letter to Town clerk to place it on town agenda for debate

    Fifth, call for tender late Fall 2015

    Spring construction 2016

    One soccer canteen for summer 2016

    However this council will need to wait for economic development plan 2016, soil sample from Fisher Park 2017, deal with someone concern about the build colour or roof lines don’t meet town historical values and a review environment assessment 2019

    Oops, election is 2018 start process over.

  6. Certainly a small building with a couple of washrooms and a change room or two would be less expensive to maintain and operate than what is spent at either of the two bubbles. Not sure how some decisions are made by the town. $300K for a skateboard park is absurd.

    • Any thoughts on approaching the Rotary Club? The Soccer Club would still have to get permission from the Town due to the ongoing maintenance expense but surely they would entertain the idea if the initial capital is covered.

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