Thank-you for investing in our youth

Referendum defeat of turf field only half true

Re: Robron Sports Complex – Artificial Grass Field

Thank you to Mayor Adams and Council for investing in the youth of our community by approving funding for the Robron Sports Complex Artificial Grass Field.

This investment enhances the physical and mental health of our children and grandchildren. Participation in organized sports provides our youth much needed exercise. Participation in organized sports promotes interaction with other children rather than addictive electronic games and TV.  Participation in organized sports teaches our children teamwork, fair play, sportsmanship, motivation, discipline,  competition,  cooperation,  and builds character.

Sports’ volunteers spend countless hours providing a positive environment for our children.

These volunteers help build healthy bodies, healthy minds and good citizens.

None of the above will occur without proper sports facilities. If our sports facilities are inadequate, participation of our volunteers and youth declines. We face ever increasing health concerns for our children, including obesity and diabetes as a result of sedentary lifestyles. We need to encourage sport and exercise not discourage it.

Our youth soccer games are cancelled roughly 50 per cent of the time because of field closure due to wet weather.  This includes both city and school fields.  It has become difficult to organize leagues, jamborees or tournaments because of field cancellations.

The Artificial Grass Field changes all that! Our children will be able to practice and play games on a regular basis in Campbell River.

At the present time, many of our teams and athletes travel to our neighbouring communitiy’s artificial grass fields to practice, play league games, and attend jamborees and tournaments.

Campbell River is the last community of similar size on the Island to build an artificial grass field. Smaller communities such as Ladysmith and Powell River have artificial grass fields. Port Alberni has two.

When our athletes and teams travel outside of Campbell River because we don’t have proper facilities, it is expensive for them, their money is spent outside our community, and because we are unable to host, we lose valuable dollars that otherwise would come into the community.

Council should be applauded for their funding decision. Instead they are criticized on the basis of the half-truth that the field was voted down by referendum in 2008. To be accurate, voters were never given the option of voting for or against the field as a stand alone item. The field approval was tied to a very expensive hockey arena/event center proposal. A voter could not vote yes for the field without voting yes for the hockey rink/event center. A no vote for the hockey arena/event center was a no vote for the field.

In the aftermath, it was clear from various polls and surveys that the artificial grass field had the support of a substantial majority of residents.

Indeed, in November 2012 HB Lanarc carried out a survey as part of its review of Campbell River’s Strategic Park Plan. Lanarc found that the Robron artificial grass field was the community’s highest park priority and that 71 per cent highly supported a modest to high Parcel Property tax to pay for it.

Surely, if similar sized and smaller sized Island communities can afford an artificial grass field, Campbell River can also afford it.

Surely, if the We Wai Kai Nation feels it needs two artificial grass fields to support it’s activities, Campbell River can afford one. If the We Wai Kai obtain approval for their plans it will complement the Robron Sports Complex and allow both Campbell River and the We Wai Kai to mutually benefit from sports tourism.

This field was needed long ago. It will be used by all ages and many sports groups.

I am a Director of Campbell River Youth Soccer but I am writing this letter personally. I am also a senior citizen who will never play on the field, but I have benefited my whole life from organized sport. I have seen the positive impact of organized sport on my children and grandchildren.

Through years of playing and coaching I have seen the positive impact organized sports  has on countless individuals.

It takes a community to raise a child!

I congratulate Council on a wise decision that will benefit Campbell River tremendously.

Sid Shook

Campbell River