Frustration is mounting over the need for new and safer soccer fields in Fort St. John.
A highly charged letter from the Fort St. John Soccer Club goes before city council next week about its inaction to address 13 years of concerns about the poor state of the fields at Surerus Park.
“I ask you, City Council as an example, would you ever allow the ice in the Pomeroy Sports Center to fall into disrepair to the point where Fort St. John Minor Hockey says they can no longer use it? I will answer it for you. NO! This would never happen,” wrote Cub President Darren Snider in a March 14 letter to council.
“Council would find the money to repair an ice rink no matter what. It would NEVER sit unfit for use year after year. City Council would absolutely move the earth to repair and get the ice open again.”
The city currently has two soccer fields at Surerus Park, though Snider notes they were poorly built and have caused injuries to young players.
The fields suffer from poor contouring and drainage that leaves it filled with pools of water in the spring, and as dust by the end of the season. The two fields are also not enough for the size of the city, Snider noted.
In the letter, Snider raised concerns that council rushed to replace a broken ice chiller at the curling rink last fall. That emergency fix, at a cost of $78,172 cost, wasn't in the budget, Snider noted.
“Why are the Soccer Pitches less important? They cost less to repair. They cost less to maintain,” Snider wrote.
“I have been on the FSJ Soccer Club Board of Directors for 13 years, and I have had discussions with City staff, for the entire period regarding the poor state of the Surerus fields. Thirteen times the City has passed budgets without allotting any money to build safe soccer fields for our community.”
Surerus Park is identified as a destination park in the city's recreation master plan, along with Kin Park.
“Three years ago I met with 4 City staff managers and was promised that Surerus Park was a priority for re-development/repairs. Now, 3 years later, it is still not scheduled for repair,” Snider wrote. "The Fort St. John Soccer Club is open to discussions around planning soccer fields and looks forward to future discussions."
Council meets Monday.
Read the letter in full below:
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