Lacrosse box costs soar

The city’s Minor Lacrosse Association has built “a first class” lacrosse box complete with a score clock and Internet camera, but is now struggling to pay the bills.

The city’s Minor Lacrosse Association has built “a first class” lacrosse box complete with a score clock and Internet camera, but is now struggling to pay the bills.

The new lacrosse box at Robron Park was built for $671,532 but the association is short $97,356.

“I find myself in the unenviable position to ask the city for financial assistance,” said Kevin Mills of the Campbell River Minor Lacrosse Association. “We built this lacrosse box, we built it first class, unfortunately we didn’t have enough money to finish off paying the contractor.”

Mills said there have been a number of circumstances which resulted in higher costs. The city already contributed $213,285, the federal government funded $226,254 of the project through its Recreation Infrastructure Fund and the community and the association together raised $134,637.

With those three funding sources combined it was expected to be enough.

But Mills said because the association was not allowed to use volunteers during construction, there were drainage concerns in the area and a higher fence than expected was required. 

“We needed a very sophisticated drainage system because we’re in an area where water collects because of the way the land is sloped so we had to outsource the work,” said Mills. The boards (around the box) were also defective. They started to blister after a month of rain and heat so we had to purchase puck board to go around the boards.”

This is not the first time Mills and the association have run into financial problems.

In January 2010, it was announced that an elaborate drainage system would have to be installed because of the ground conditions which meant an increase of $138,000 (which the city provided) to the original budget.

An additional $88,000 was later added to the budget because the site chosen by the city required the tennis courts be moved about 50 feet to the east. 

Coun. Andy Adams pointed out the association did take on part of a financial burden that will benefit all of Robron Park.

“A number of the costs serve the Robron project as a whole, whether electrical or water, but particularly the drainage,” said Adams.

“If the drainage infrastructure was not provided in this project the cost would have been borne by another phase of the Robron project. I hope we would be able to find the whole or at least a portion of this in the budget.

Council asked staff to report back within two weeks on potential funding sources for the lacrosse box.

Mills did, however, have some good news to share with city council Tuesday night. 

Lacrosse numbers are up this year – about 20 per cent – from 130 kids to between 140 and 145.

He said the new score board and shot clock are top notch and quite sophisticated.

There is now electrical service for the entire park as well as an additional irrigation system, and an Internet camera security system which will deter delinquent activity not only around the lacrosse box but on the baseball diamonds, playground and soccer fields.

The city’s plans for Robron Park include: parking, utility and path upgrades; synthetic turf soccer field; natural turf soccer field and a clubhouse for the various sports teams that will use the park.